Urban voters' apathy again on show

Urban voters' apathy again on show

Only about 48.4 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the first phase of panchayat polls on Sunday according to the State Election Commission. The turnout is just four percent more than that registered at the BBMP poll held in May this year.

The Bangalore Urban district  has recorded the lowest turnout among 11 districts which went to panchayat polls in the first phase, whereas Bangalore Rural, the adjoining district, has registered the highest voter turnout of 71 pc. A large number of women were seen waiting in queue at most of the polling booths in the Urban district. The voting went off peacefully barring a few incidents of faulty EVMs and allegations of voter allurement and violation of election norms.

 Candidates had made arrangements to ferry voters to polling  booths at several places. Traffic came to a grinding halt for a while as vehicles providing transportation lined up in Jigani, Anekal taluk. The police had remained mute spectators.

A large number of political workers were seen gathering close to polling booths for the last minute campaigning. Food was arranged at some places in violation of election norms  which prohibit activities within 100 metre radius of polling booths. Political parties were allowed to put up a desk within 50 metre radius of the booths. There were not enough policemen to man the booths.

A constable was posted at ordinary booths, while sensitive booths had two. In most places, party workers were seen supplying food and drinking water for election staff, again in violation of norms. In Bannerghatta (polling booth - 274), BJP candidate Jayaram performed pooja to the EVM as the voting commenced for the day. The candidate and his family members barged into the booth though the police tried to stop them. This was in violation of the model code of conduct. The Election Commission has registered a complaint and issued a notice to the presiding officer.

EVMs in eight booths developed technical problems and delayed voting by half-an-hour. In Yamare in Anekal taluk, BJP candidate Jayaprakash demanded the election staff allow some people to vote though they did not have valid identity cards. He also threatened the staff of dire consequences if they were not allowed to vote.

However, the officers did not budge. Besides, there were complaints of names missing in the voters’ list.