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PMC elections 2017: Affidavit details of candidates on display outside polling booths, voters seem disinterested

However, the initiative didn’t seem to make much difference to voters; most of them said they had already decided who to vote for before entering the booth.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune |
February 22, 2017 1:12:40 am
PMC polls, state election commission, candidates' affidavits, affidavit on diplay, pune news, india news, indian express news Most voters said they had already decided who to vote for. (Source: Sandeep Daundkar)

The 2017 municipal corporation elections had many first-of-its-kind initiatives by the State Election Commission, to help voters exercise their franchise and provide more information to them, so that they can make a studied decision. Boards with details of affidavits filed by candidates — including the assets declared by them and criminal record, if any — were put up outside all polling stations. However, the initiative didn’t seem to make much difference to voters; most of them said they had already decided who to vote for before entering the booth. Surekha Jadhav, a resident of Ota Scheme near Yamunanagar area of Nigdi, was seen going through the information outside the booth. “These figures are interesting, especially details of assets,” she said.

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However, when asked if these details were likely to change her mind about her chosen candidate, she replied in the negative. “I have already decided who to vote for and will cast my vote accordingly,” said Jadhav.

Her friend Rakshabai Khade said they usually vote for candidates who “they can trust”; “We need to have access to our corporator. Their details, though interesting, hardly makes any difference to us,” she said.

However, some voters did change their mind after reading the information available. M S Bhagat, who cast his vote at a booth in Panchavati area, said, “Putting up information about the assets, criminal record and educational background of the candidates was a good step. I and my neighbour came here to vote, and we saw that one of the candidates I had thought of voting for had multiple criminal cases against him. I decided not to vote for that candidate and chose another one.”

Dr Suhas Palshikar, former professor of political science at the Savitribai Phule Pune University and director, Lokniti, said there are some misconceptions about both educated and uneducated voters. “Even educated voters do not mind voting for candidates with criminal records, if the latter help them avail basic services,” he said. According to Palshikar, most voters opt for tactical thinking — they choose to elect the person who can help them rather than doing the right thing, such as weeding out criminal elements from the system.

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