Friday, December 03, 2021

PMC polls: Disappointing show with only 55 per cent voter turnout

The PMC had declared freebies to motivate voters to exercise their right and had also under taken a public awareness drive through all possible mass mediums.

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune |
February 22, 2017 12:38:34 am
PMC polls, pune municipal corporation, pune municipal corporation, PMC voter turn out, PMC polls voter turn out, pune news, india news, indian express news A total of 34,000 calls were received from voters at the call centre, to find out which was their polling booth, and this was in addition to the distribution of slips to 75 per cent voters, he added.

Voters kept everyone guessing with a turnout of 55.5 per cent, 4.58 per cent more than the 2012 polls, in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) elections held on Tuesday, despite the freebies and awareness campaign by the State Election Commission and the civic election department. “We are disappointed about the kind of turnout for PMC polls and need to analyse the voters’ approach,” said Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar.

The PMC had declared freebies to motivate voters to exercise their right and had also under taken a public awareness drive through all possible mass mediums, he said, adding, “The PMC had expected a turnout of 65-70 per cent but it was way less, considering the kind of efforts undertaken to increase the turnout, though it is 4.58 per cent more than 50.92 per cent in 2012.” The civic body would also look into its shortcomings in motivating voters, said Kumar, adding that the voter search facility provided by the PMC had received a good response, with 10.66 lakh voters using it to identity the location of their polling booths.

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A total of 34,000 calls were received from voters at the call centre, to find out which was their polling booth, and this was in addition to the distribution of slips to 75 per cent voters, he added.

Kumar said there were a few complaints about voters’ names being shifted to a new area or voters from the same family getting scattered across different polling booths. “There were no major complaints about a large number of voters missing from the voters’ lists. The complaints were… sorted out by the election staff,” he said.

The election across the city was largely peaceful; technical snags were reported at three control units and nine ballot units, but they were sorted out within 15 minutes.

However, the four-ward electoral panel system created confusion among voters, as many struggled with it and the election staff had to guide them. Election staff urged voters to go through the copy of ballot papers put up outside each booth. This helped reduce the time taken by each voter, who had to mandatorily cast four votes for them to be considered valid, at the EVM.

The polling started at 7.30 am, with 10 per cent voting reported in the first two hours, as many people headed to the booths straight from their morning walks. Employees of private organisations also visited the polling booths early and later made their way to office. By 3.30 pm, 43 per cent people had exercised their right to vote, and many were seen in the queue, waiting for their turn to cast their votes. As long queues of voters were seen even at 5.30 pm, the polling process at many booths was extended.

At a few places in the city, the voting went on till at 9 pm due to last-minute rush by voters. There were a few incidents of bogus voters being nabbed at polling booths. In Sinhagad Road area, four college students were detained by police after it was revealed that they possessed voters’ ID cards and were enrolled in the local electoral roll, though none of them had ever lived in the area.

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