'Low turnout a rebellious rejection of system'

Disenchantment, missing names, move to split Palike key factors

'Low turnout a rebellious rejection of system'

Voter indifference, apathy and disenchantment with civic affairs as well as the BBMP are apparently the prime reasons for the low voter turnout (around 50 per cent).

The voting percentage in the Palike polls was 45 per cent  in 2010 and 44 pc in 2001. Civic groups are unanimous that the average cosmopolitan Bengalurean is just not coming out to vote whatever the circumstances.

Mahalakshmi Parthasarathy of the Citizens Action Forum says “voter apathy has clearly shown up”. People wonder why vote for corporators who have done nothing for them.

“This is a rebellious rejection of the system and anger that nothing changes. Then there are problems with voter lists. Migrants would not have voted because they are not familiar with the poll system.

“Election material, she says, should have been printed in English and Hindi too to enable migrants to understand the system and vote.

“The entire voting process from registration of names in the voters list to the issue of identity cards and voting itself should have been publicly discussed so that people understand what to do with the system and not be clueless at the polling booth.”According to independent voter analyst P G Bhat, “people have become disgusted and disenchanted with the BBMP and its poor image”.

“The quality of candidates seen over the last five years seems very poor. BBMP has done very little to bring the voter out. Names were being included in the lists till about August 18. That means a lot of names are missing. It’s too late to enlist names. Also, too many proxy candidates this time have added to the apathy and disenchantment.”

Civic activist Kalpana Kar of the erstwhile Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF) says “the indifference is very saddening and disgusting”.

“The voter turnout is getting worse every election, which means the middle-class seems fed up with BBMP and civic elections. They see nothing coming out of the exercise. The controversy over splitting BBMP into three or five divisions has created tremendous confusion.

“The short and crunched election schedule was also an important factor for low voting. The absence of NOTA may have been a deterrent factor. I heard a number of people talking about it. But when you don’t engage with the system, why be given the right to vote?”

India Against Corruption feels there is cynicism and anger in the middle class. Activist Anand Yadawad says people believe that voting for any party will not make a difference.

“The parties don’t change and BBMP doesn’t change. So why vote, ask people. Then, the issue of division of BBMP created confusion. Citizens surmised that there would be a new election very soon, so why vote? The voter rolls don’t seem to have had all the names in place. Many people returned finding that their names were missing.”

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