Smart city fails to break ‘unsmart’ voting jinx; 41% polling till 5PM

It seems on the election day, nearly six of every ten voters preferred to stay indoors in the Capital city.

Bhubaneswar: Voter apathy in Bhubaneswar to fore again, when the State in third phase polls witnessed around 61 per cent turnout. The Capital city has recorded a poor voter turnout of around 41 per cent till 5 PM today. It seems on the election day, nearly six of every ten voters preferred to stay indoors in the Capital city.

The pace of voter turnout in the State’s capital is very disappointing as it once again reflected a complete disdainful nature of voters of this prestigious constituency. This, when the city is regarded as one of the fastest growing city in India.

Bhubaneswar has a history of low polling for the last 15 years. The voter turnout in the three significant assembly segments of Bhubaneswar -Central, Bhubaneswar – North and Ekamra- Bhubaneswsar – in the Capital city was always pathetic.

Sample this: When the polling percentage in 2009 in the assembly segments of Bhubaneswar – Central, Bhubaneswar – North and Ekamra – Bhubaneswar were a mere 33.78 per cent, 35 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively.

The voter turnout in 2014 general elections had shown a marginal improvement. When the electoral turnout in Bhubaneswar – Central was around 41.9 per cent, the poll numbers in the assembly segments of Bhubaneswar – North and Ekamara-Bhubaneswar were pegged at 41.33 per cent and 45.97 per cent, respectively.

As per tentative figures given by CEO Surendra Kumar, the voter turnouts today in the three assembly constituencies viz, Ekamra- Bhubaneswar, Bhubaneswar -Central and Bhubaneswar – North were 43 per cent, 41 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively.

However, Jayadev (SC) constituency has recorded higher poll turnout of around 57 per cent till 5 PM. This constituency had recorded a good polling rate in last 2 general elections. The final poll percentages in 2009 and 2014 were 65.19 and 73.90, respectively.

When generally, low voter turnout in urban and literate areas was attributed to no good contestants there; political observers view the low polling as a pure disregard to democratic process by voters in  the three city constituencies. Because, the LS constituency has good candidates this time. While BJP has fielded former IAS officer Aparajita Sarangi, BJD has made former IPS officer Arup Patnaik its nominee.

In contrast, the rural constituencies viz, Jatani, Khurda and Begunia in the prestigious Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha constituency have recorded a better voter turnout. The tentative polling figures till 5 PM were estimated at around 53-55 per cent.

Significantly, these assembly constituencies had a good voter turnout in earlier general elections. The Jatani Assembly Constituency(AC) posted a turnout of around 60 per cent in 2009 and 70 per cent in 2014. Similarly, Begunia AC had recoreded a turnout of around 61.78 and 73.52 in 2014, respectively. In 2014, Khurda had polled around 73.42 per cent in 2014 vis-a-vis of 61.18 per cent in 2009.