Will U’khand shed the image of low voter turnout state?
In 2014 parliamentary elections, Uttarakhand was on 30th position among 35 states and Union territories on voter turnout.
With sting in the election campaign missing this time around and normal hustle and bustle associated with election still eluding as election campaign ended in Uttarakhand on Tuesday evening, everyone including the authorities and the political parties are keeping their fingers crossed on the voter turnout on April 11, the day of voting. The state has tradition of low voter turnout than national average in the parliamentary elections. In the elections of the 2004, only 48.07 percent of people turned out to vote which was 10 percent less than the national average voter turnout. The turnout improved to 53.43 percent in the parliamentary elections of 2009. The national average was 58.43 in this election. In the parliamentary elections of 2014 which witnessed a Modi wave across the northern and Central India, 61.67 percent of voters exercised their franchise against a national average of 66.44 percent. Interestingly Uttarakhand has a literacy rate of 79.60 percent which is significantly higher than national literacy percentage which is at 74.04 which means that a more literate Uttarakhand lags behind other states when it comes to choosing their representatives. The apparent disinterest of voters of Uttarakhand is intriguing as apart from a state with high literacy, the people of the state that was created after a massive statehood movement, are considered more aware.
The founder of Gati Foundation, a policy research think tank, Anoop Nautiyal told The Pioneer that in the elections of 2014, Uttarakhand was on 30th position among 35 states and Union territories on voter turnout. He said that the low voter turnout is inexplicable as other Himalayan states Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim have a very high turnout.
The officiating president of the state unit of the BJP Naresh Bansal said that the party cadre is fully geared up for the elections. “Our workers are touching every home and I am confident that this time the voter turn in Uttarakhand would be more,’’ he said.
Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Garima Dasauni claimed that more voters would come out to vote this time as people are fed up with the BJP government and they would vote for change.
When contacted, the additional Chief Electoral Officer ( CEO), V Shanmugham said that the election commission has undertaken Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation ( SVEEP) activity in all parts of the state. He said that different target groups like youth, women and disabled were contacted and encouraged to participate in voting. The additional CEO further added that an EVM awareness programme too was undertaken in the mock polling was held in different areas as part of the voter education programme.
Wednesday, 10 April 2019 | Gajendra Singh Negi | Dehradun
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