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Sira sees good turnout, but poor voting in RR Nagar

Amid a pandemic and safety precautions in place, the Election Commission successfully concluded polling for Sira and Rajarajeshwari Nagar Assembly constituencies on Tuesday.

Published: 04th November 2020 03:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th November 2020 03:06 AM   |  A+A-

Voters show their inked fingers after casting their ballot for bypolls to the RR Nagar assembly seat, in Bengaluru on Tuesday | Nagaraja Gadekal

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Amid a pandemic and safety precautions in place, the Election Commission successfully concluded polling for Sira and Rajarajeshwari Nagar Assembly constituencies on Tuesday. While Sira recorded about 82.31 per cent turnout in the provisional estimates at end of polling, Rajarajeshwari Nagar recorded an abysmally low turnout at 45.24 per cent — almost 10 per cent lesser than the turnout for the 2018 assembly election. Of the 2,15,725 registered electors in Sira, 1,77,553 voters polled on Tuesday, while in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, of the 4,62,210 eligible electors, only 2,09,083 voted. Overall polling stood at 57.04 per cent. There may be a slight revision in the numbers after final calculation.

The low voter turnout in Rajarajeshwari Nagar came as a dampener for the BJP and the Congress, which are in a direct fight for the seat. The high voter turnout in Sira, despite the pandemic, has brought cheer to the three major parties, with all of them expecting a sure-shot victory.

Bypolls usually witness lower voter turnout, but Sira has proved to be an exception. In 2018, the seat had seen 84.77 per cent polling. The pandemic seems to have barely deterred voters, with some polling stations like Saluparahalli recording 94.3 per cent turnout. Rajarajeshwari Nagar has always recorded low voter turnout, but Tuesday’s turnout was the worst in the last few elections.

Political parties are of the opinion that the low voter turnout may be for a myriad of reasons ranging from a lack of enthusiasm, pandemic scare, reverse migration of voters owing to ‘Work From Home’ or lockdown effect to a lack of real competition among candidates.

“We expected about 5-6 per cent more polling in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, but given the turnout, we expect to win with a margin of 21,000-22,000 votes. In Sira, we are confident of winning with a 10,000 vote margin. If not for the low turnout, we would have won with 40,000 vote margin in RR Nagar,” claimed BJP national general secretary C T Ravi.

The Congress too is worried about the turnout in Rajarajeshwari Nagar. “Many migrant workers have not returned to their homes in the constituency due to the government’s failure. We are confident that voters have chosen us. In Sira, T B Jayachandra will win with a big margin though it being a three-cornered fight,” said KPCC working president Saleem Ahmed.

JDS confident of win in Sira

The JDS has taken the high voter turnout in Sira as an indication of the party candidate’s victory. “We have the support of the community and all our leaders have given their best with H D Deve Gowda taking the lead. We are sure of winning in Sira. We will wait and watch what happens in RR Nagar,” said senior JDS leader and MLC Basavaraj Horatti.

While masks, social distancing and use of sanitisers were mandatory at polling booths, voters were also given disposable gloves before coming in contact with the EVMs. Party workers outside the polling booths were also seen distributing masks and sanitisers to voters even as they made a last-minute appeal to support their respective candidates. Special arrangements had been made for Covid-19 patients to cast votes, including ambulances for transportation, PPE kits for voters and polling staff and sanitisation of booths soon after.



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