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From Dilli to Hyd’bad gulli, urban voter apathy persists
- Chief Electoral Officer asks voters in Hyd to vote in large numbers on Nov 30
- In the last three general elections, voter turnout was between 40 to 55 per cent
- One factor keeping individuals away from voting is absence of names from electoral rolls
Hyderabad: In India, urban metropolis, including Hyderabad, are often associated with notably low voter turnout. As the Telangana State Assembly elections approach this Thursday, the Election Commission (EC) remains apprehensive about the persistently low voter participation within the constituencies in the city limits.
As all the educational institutions declared holidays on Wednesday and Thursday and the State government announced a paid holiday on Thursday, the officials are quite concerned about the voter turnout as the residents may prefer to travel on a long weekend as Friday is the only working day. Some of the city residents have already planned to travel to different places for a long weekend.
Speaking to The Hans India, K Srinivas, a voter says, “Although there is a low voter turnout in the city in recent times, it may not be an indication that the residents are unwilling to exercise their franchise, however, they are registered voters in other parts of the State and mostly they tend to travel to their hometowns to cast their votes.”
Chief Electoral Officer Vikas Raj appealed to voters, especially in Hyderabad, to come out on November 30 and vote in large numbers. The EC has already appealed to IT associations in the city as there are several IT hubs to declare holiday on the voting day. In the city, one can see the billboards being displayed by the EC officials to encourage voters to cast their votes for the upcoming Assembly elections. Most of the non-governmental organisations, voluntary organisations, and citizens are urging the voters in Hyderabad to cast their votes through organising various programmes such as street corner meetings, posts on social media platforms, raising awareness programmes about exercising vote and its importance in the functioning of the democracy. In the last three general elections held in the city, the voter turnout was very low in most of the constituencies between just 40 to 55 per cent.
“Typically, many urban residents express admiration for democracy but harbor a distaste for politics. A significant portion of middle-class households believe they possess adequate resources and consequently may not need government support to address their concerns. This sentiment leads to a general disinterest in engaging in the electoral process, with a prevailing sentiment that voting is not a priority for them”, says Sandeep Shastri, a leading political analyst.
I’m genuinely keen on casting my vote, yet regrettably, I consistently encounter an issue: my name is missing from the electoral rolls. This recurring problem, from local body elections to the Lok Sabha polls, significantly dampens our enthusiasm to participate in the voting process, says Kavya, a 26-year-old voter in Hyderabad.
Apart from the middle-class population in the city, many urban slum dwellers prioritise voting due to their reliance on various government schemes. However, they face two significant challenges. Firstly, they might not be registered as voters in the cities they reside in, or their names might be missing from the electoral rolls. Secondly, individuals employed in the service sector, such as attendants, maid servants, and hawkers, often refrain from voting as they might not be granted leave by their employing organisations, says Professor Sanjay Kumar, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.