9 reasons why the voting percentage is lower by 4% in Uttarakhand Lok Sabha 2019 elections – The First Reactions!
Compared to 2014 when the voting percentage was 61.67% in Uttarakhand, the percentage vote of 57.85% (almost 4% lower) in the 5 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 election can be attributed to the following 9 reasons. The voting percentages are provisional figures released by the EC and are subject to change. However, what is clear is that the final voting figures will be far less than what was being expected due to a high-decibel campaign.
1. Issues – The electorate did not adequately relate to the issues raised by political parties. Nationalism, Pakistan, Nyay and Rafale did not click with the electorate who were perhaps wanting their day to day issues like employment, agriculture, health, education and the basics to be addressed more deeply.
2. Less time – Since the Uttarakhand voting was held in the first phase, political parties and candidates did not get enough time to build adequate momentum.
3. On-ground campaign – Campaign was missing on the ground. Jan Sabhas, Nukkad Sabhas, Door to Door campaign and traditional campaigning was missing.
( A female voter coming out of polling booth after casting her vote. Pic credits: Hindustan Times)
4. Candidates – There are 22 less candidates during this election. Compared to 74 candidates in 2014, only 52 candidates are in the fray this time. Though independents and the smaller parties hardly make a dent in terms of numbers, they build the “fiza’ of an election.
5. Social Media – it appears that a lot of focus and action was on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. This did not lead to an adequate conversion on the ground.
6. Migration – The pace of migration in Uttarakhand is on the rise. Hills have always voted less than the plains. Perhaps, the increased rate of migration resulted in less votes.
7. Weather – Many regions in the hill areas in the districts of Uttarkashi, Pauri, Rudraprayag and Pithoragarh are still covered with snow. In-accessibility has resulted in less votes.
8. Missing names on voter lists – Widespread complaints about missing names have been reported across the entire state. These were voters who returned back from the polling booths since their names did not figure in the voting lists. Many of these voters are long term residents and have voted successively in past elections, yet they could not cast their votes in this election.
9. Election boycott – Few rural areas have reported boycott of the electoral process due to non fulfillment of their pending demands.
(The author is the Founder-Chairperson of Dehradun based think tank, Gati Foundation)
The above blog is a part of #DemocracyAndCitizenEngage