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Governance

The poor turnout in the posh areas of the city and the general voter apathy was cause enough for several politicians to spit fire at Bangalore, and to hint that if people did not turn out to vote they had no right to criticise the ruling class. For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here

The Transport Minister in-charge of Bangalore, R Ashok, scolded people for watching films and going to restaurants instead of voting and called for making voting compulsory.“IT is a shame on part of educated people. I don’t know why these people have no time even to come to polling stations to elect a right candidate" he added.

Now, this is the very same Mr Ashok, who during the Assembly elections had promised among many other things that he will consult the citizens before selceting the candidates for BBMP elections. But this time he has selected the same ex-corporator who has been responsible for all the mess in our ward and about whose earlier performance there is not a single soul who can put in a good word. And many of us have personally conveyed our disappointment to him but he seems to care for nobody except pursuing his own personal agenda. I am sure that the expecrience is similar except in the degree of disappointment in other constituencies as well. (And we in Abhyudaya have been doing this exercise for the past four elections) - check this

“People in rural areas face a lot of problems but they come in large numbers to polling stations to cast their votes. What is the problem for Bangaloreans to come to polling stations?” said JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy. Kumaraswamy, whose party has been dubbed anti-Bangalore, laid the blame for the poor turnout at the door of the educated and the elite. “They have no right to blame politicians when they do not vote in the very important process of democracy,” Kumaraswamy said.

And, Kumaraswamy is the person who has brazenly gone about saying that he saw nothing wrong in fielding criminals if they looked like winnable candidates - check this

Krishna Byregowda, MLA from Byatarayanapura Assembly segment echoed similar sentiments. Calling the poor turnout in Bangalore a disgrace for democracy, Byregowda said: “These people always demand facilities from government but are not ready to spend a few minutes to exercise their franchise. I consider the poor turnout as the failure of the educated people.” His boss, Mr R V Deshapande, too did not mince its words against Bangalore saying that the low turnout will showcase Bangalore in a poor light even as the whole world treated the city as India’s IT capital.

If rumours are to be believed, a highly reputed lady Social Worker had approached a party MLA for the party ticket to contest from a General (W) ward. She had to back out when a demand was made on her to cough up Rs 50 lakhs, apart from having to meet her poll expenses.

Given such a scenario, like I had predicted (check this) in the case of the complex where I am staying, a very small percentage turned out to vote, though most are registered. I myself went about it more as a ritual.

There's hope however - many people mailed/ asked LokSatta candidates, as also me - 'why is there no Loksatta candidate in our ward?', making for a great testament to the quality of our candidates, and to their acceptance by voters. Let's all join in to work for a better future.

Muralidhar Rao
 

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murali772's picture

a new analysis

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In Koramangala (ward no 151) where the SmartVote exercise was carried out, the voting numbers improved from around 7,500 the last time to around 13,000 now, making for a 70% increase, though still a dismal 39% of the numbers on the SEC voter list for the ward. A SmartVote team member came up with the following analysis, which does have a credible ring to it, though of course, one could say 'things ought to be a lot better'.

30% of the voter list is defective. So, if there are 32,500 voters, only 22,750 in the list are genuine voters. The other names are duplicates, or of people who have moved out or of people who have died etc. Of this, if 13,000 people have voted then the actual voting % is 57%. Now, atleast another 10% wanted their names to get registered and vote, but have been denied because of faulty registration systems, which would have added another say 3,000. Even if we assume that there could also have been 40% amongst these who inspite of being eligible would not have voted even if their names was added to the voting list, we would have had a total of 14,800, making for an overall 57%.

And, if this ward had been an open (not reserved) ward, based on which expectation SmartVote chose it for the exercise, I am certain, there would have been better level of candidates contesting leading perhaps to better voter turnout in turn.
 

Muralidhar Rao
dvsquare's picture

Agree, Low turnout is not because of people, its voter-list

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I have seen it from last couple of elections, how much campaigning being done to encourage citizens to vote, but results are still not going above 50% yet. Now I have started to believe and agree that its not the citizens, its government and SEC should be held responsible for this and they should take a action-item on themselves to make voter-list non-faulty and non-stale. People who would have died/no-more-here are still there on the list, while people who submitted their Form-6 several times are still not there or their photo missing or names mis-spelt so badly that they couldn't be identified. Last Parliament elections I felt very bad for the Bangaloreans to see the polling results, but this time I have no reason to blame them. If I look at the Koramangala ward, SMART VOTE team has done such a remarkable job, still the percentage couldn't cross 50. We went door-to-door to encourage them to vote, then did sms to remind of debate and voting-day, then another door-to-door for distributing profiles, then telling calling everybody, and then lastly VOTE-Marshalling to make sure everyone VOTE. Even a call-center was organized to help voters. And we were getting good responses from atleast the people whose name is on Voter-List. Then why low turn out? Why? Answer is faulty Vote-List. Highly needed that Voter-List has to be made right.

pathykv's picture

Voting

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It is unfortunate, but only 44% of voters have found it worthwhile to vote.

The reasons may go deeper, like

1. The crisis of confidence in the system. Most voters may be feeling that none of the candidates deserve their vote as , from past experience, those elected disappear from the scene after taking oath.

2. Anyway the elected persons will be more interested to take care of their own and their party's interests rather than the interest of the citizensor  the city.

3.They make their own programmes of work without consulting the citizens regarding their real needs.

  Under such circumstances the voter does not feel he should be a party to allow the candidate to claim large support of the electorate and so abstains from voting.

Let us hope that the new crop of corporators will prove the above cynisism wrong and attract better voting percentage next time.

K.V.Pathy

idontspam's picture

None of the political parties

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None of the political parties make any effort to solve voter problems other than preaching from the sidelines. They should have ensured every citizen was covered in the list. Not a single soul was in our area to find out if our name existed or not. I reside in ward 19 & had forgotten to change from ward 35. Nobody bothered. 4 votes lost in ward 19. Went to an unsuspecting candidate in ward 35.

Parties run the govt & work with EC, they have to take up the voter list cause and set practices to keep the list updated.

When airlines can track loyalty miles and even coffee day can track loyalty points for buying coffee our political parties dont want to make any effort to track their loyal voters. If somebody does it one year they forget the registered voter next year. It is not a professional process within the party system to retain their vote bank hence last minute campaign. This will help them only and in turn ensure adequate coverage.

If they cant follow good processes inside the party how they will set process & standards for the city?

 

arunr's picture

Why pass on the blame ???

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This is my first post at Praja, though I have been following it quite religiously .

I think its time we put our hand up and accept the blame.. We are just finding reasons about wrong candidates , defective voter list etc. Actually all these should not make up for more than 10% at the max . Additionally the 45% is as of the total registered list. There are many more people in Bangalore who do not just want to register. I can vouch that many people in my organization just say... why waste time going to the office and wasting a holiday.. These are persons who have stayed for as long as 5 -7 years in Bangalore.. 

So I think its pretty clear that we are just lazy enough to go out and vote or try and understand  who are leaders are... And some of these elite people who dont vote are the among the first to complain for every small thing...

Was reading the TOI about Govt introducing compulsory voting and removal of govt subsidies, DL etc in case of default . Though personally I am against that, I think we deserve it.

The icing in the cake is one day after the elections and the poor turnout, people have started complaining about the roads ,load shedding etc.. !!!!!!!! 

 

 

 Arun Rajagopal

silkboard's picture

The real percentage?

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Arun mentions above, and I wanted to confirm with others. When SEC says 45% turnout, does that mean that 45% of those registered to vote actually cast their ballots?

Is there any estimate on what percentage of eligible voters are actually registered to vote? I saw a stat that said Bangaore has 67 lakh voters. Is that the "eligible' count, or 'registered' count?

Assuming that only 60% of eligible voters are registered, and further, only 45% of the registered citizens actually voted, out of 100, only 60 x 0.45 = 27 people have voted.

Assuming that winning candidates get 40% of votes polled, that would mean votes 27 x 0.4 = 11 votes.

So at the end of it all, the winning candidate only represents 11 out of 100 eligible voters in his/her constituency.

Is this true? Seems to be, because I have been searching for that ink-mark on fingers everywhere since yesterday morning. And in my office (a large IT services company), my hit rate is 1 in 15. No jokes.

nl.srinivas's picture

It is deliberate

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The voters' list is deliberately fudged. The parties do not want anybody who cannot be bought on the list. Since the last general elections I can give you hundreds of incidents where the young people tried to register themselves but they could not even after submitting applications more than once. Is it just typical govt apathy or there is something more to it.?

Of couse part of the blame also lies on many of us who do not register or do not vote.

Is it really so difficult to get the the list fairly accurate? When BSNL can maintain a telephone directory of lakhs of people is it so difficult to maintain the voters' list?

There are many documents which can prove you identity and address proof. I just hope we get one single social security number so that it is easier to maintain records. And the IT infrastructure required for that is definitely managable.

 


arunr's picture

 I think the way voter

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 I think the way voter turnout is a % of eligible voters. However  I am interpreting eligible voters as  people who are in the voters list in the particular ward /consituency ,which means that a good chunk of Bangalore's population is a floating one and hence would not have registered.

 

Please let me know if my interpretation is wrong.. I would be happy f proved wrong !! Because as "silkboard " put it across with the math , it looks scary .

To Sinivas's point, I agree that there were numerous hassles and deliberate deletions, but that is a small issue in the larger problem. Today we should not focus on those issues as there is a different day to fight it, rather look at reasons on why ppl are disinterested to vote but are ready to jump at the smallest instance to nail the govt .

 

 

 Arun Rajagopal

murali772's picture

small issue!!!?

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@Arun Rajgopal

but that is a small issue in the larger problem. Today we should not focus on those issues as there is a different day to fight it, rather look at reasons on why ppl are disinterested to vote but are ready to jump at the smallest instance to nail the govt

Can't disagree with you more. After all this and more, I am surprised - rather shocked, that there still remain apologists for the government and its agencies. No wonder things are the way they are!
 

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

The parties do not want

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The parties do not want anybody who cannot be bought on the list.

You hit the nail on the head, The biryani & booze goes to the people who will accept it. Parties will leave no stone unturned to get on the list people who they know they can manipulate. They dont bother coming around to even ask the educated because they cant be bought.

There are people I know who havent got coverage and they WANT to vote. But people have time for this...300 fake voters, all residents of the road that does not exist, turned up at the Ganaganagar (Ward No 20) polling station on Sunday, only to be caught by the poll officials. This was just one of the many cases of ‘creative exercise of franchise’ that the city saw during the BBMP polls.

dvsquare's picture

Those who didn't vote probably didn't have their name on list

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@Everyone

We all should agree to one thing that yes, there are various reasons for lower turn-out, but one of the major reason is also faulty voter-list and because of which actual turn-out is not yet known. And hence whatever actions we take to increase might or might not work or we may not know whether the result is on a positive side. The first step should obviously to make it fault-free and non-stale so that next step can be done to encourage citizens.

Secondly, I truely agree that a lot of people who have been staying in Bangalore for more than 4-5 years still don't vote, yes that's true but another reality is that they even don't exist in voter list, so their non-voting anyways doesn't count in turnout percentage, right?

murali772's picture

the disenfranchised lot

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@dvsquare
The problem and the solution perhaps lie here
 

Muralidhar Rao
dvsquare's picture

Yes, Govt has to outsource this voter list updation to private

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@Murali Sir

Truely said. Also, Government has to now outsource this voter list updation work to the private firms which then can should be done a war-foot and it should reflect a lot of things like - correct census etc. It should be so user-friendly and flexible that people can change their voter list entries as and when they move to new place as they change their addresses in Banks etc.

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