BENGALURU: The 49.62% voter turnout in Bengaluru, compared to the 70% across the state in assembly polls 2018, appears like the regular voter apathy in cities. However, this is far from the truth, insist experts. Public randomly spoken to also insist that everyone in their circle has cast their vote and even put up pictures on social media. So did the majority of Bengalureans show a keen interest in deciding their future or not?
PG Bhat, who has spent the last 9 years analysing the electoral rolls of 13 states, thunders, “The right term to describe today’s polling is official apathy. I very strongly object to the term voter apathy.”Elaborating, Bhat says, “Out of the 91 lakh voters listed in Bengaluru by the Election Commission, 20 lakh are bogus. If you look at it from that point of view, 45 lakh out of 70 lakh voters is not a bad figure at all.”
He had complained to the Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka in February this year that there was an abnormal increase in number of voters in RR Nagar, Bengaluru South and Mahadevapura too. “There has been no response from their side. Genuine voters get their applications rejected while bulk registrations are done on the other side,” he charged.
There can be no further proof than the fact that the Electoral Register Officer for Mahadevapura had filed an affidavit in HC, stating that 66% of applications for voter ID have been rejected by them, he added.
Srinivas Alavilli, co-founder of Citizens for Bengaluru, a grassroots people movement, seconds it. “The voter list is, first of all, not correct. So, how can this be taken as the base?” he asked. “In addition to that, there are lot of duplications. There is a lot of migration within Bengaluru. People move from BTM Layout to Jayanagar or buy a flat in Sarjapur and relocate. Their names would still remain in the old voter list,” he adds.
Active on social media, Alavalli insists that Facebook and other social media platforms are flooded with people showing off they voted. “I am yet to come across someone who has not voted today,” he adds.
Sanjeev Dyamannar, civic activist, said, “There is much duplication in the voter list. I know of a neighbour who is registered as a voter in his native place Mangaluru and in Bengaluru too. He casts his vote in Mangaluru only but his name remains in the city here too.”Suggesting a way to redress this, he added that voter ID cards should be validated through Aadhaar so that there can be no duplications at all.