Don’t urban folk care about elections?

Urbanites are drastically losing faith and interest in the electoral process, indicates data emerging this election season.

Published: 20th April 2019 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th April 2019 03:30 AM   |  A+A-

Urbanites are drastically losing faith and interest in the electoral process, indicates data emerging this election season. The voting percentages in three major South Indian cities in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections are dismal, with barely half the registered electorate exercising their franchise. According to the provisional data, voter turnout in Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad respectively were 59 per cent, 50 per cent and 39.5 per cent. In fact, it were the cities that pulled down the overall voting percentages in all these states.

Interestingly, the bulk of voter awareness campaigns conducted across the country primarily targeted the urban voter. The Election Commission sent campaign vans, flashed TV ads; private startups like Swiggy, Flipkart and Ola gave incentives to employees to cast their ballot; social media was abuzz with eminent personalities asking public to step out and vote. Still, voting percentages in all these three cities have dipped compared to previous years. What more? Now small towns, too, which have become rapidly urbanised over the years, are witnessing a plunge in voter participation. In Madurai, for instance, the turnout has dropped significantly over the years, from 77.5 per cent in 2009 to 67.8 per cent in 2014 to just 62 per cent this year. In Coimbatore, the numbers have fallen from 70.8 per cent in 2009 to 68 per cent in 2014 and 63.6 per cent this time.

A 2016 paper titled Do Urban Voters in India Vote Less? published by Kanchan Chandra and Alan Potter confirms this trend. “From 1989 onwards, within states, there has been a negative relationship between urbanisation and turnout in small and medium-sized towns as well,” the paper notes. Experts say this trend could have far-reaching consequences, as educated urbanites are crucial for better democratic outcomes. According to a 2014 study published by the Indian Statistical Institute, “Compared to general voters, educated voters’ support is 20 per cent less for heinous criminals, 20 per cent less for the corrupt and 13 more for females.”

Stay up to date on all the latest Editorials news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp