As voter turnout figures in the Kerala and Tamil Nadu Assembly elections were reported at the end of polling day, one trend that seems to have remained constant is the poor turnout of the electorate in capital cities.
While Chennai recorded the lowest turnout at 60.4 per cent, Thiruvananthapuram recorded the second lowest turnout in the state at 72.53 per cent, the latter being far below the state average of 77.35 per cent.
In the 2011 state assembly elections, while Kerala recorded an average of 75.12 per cent polling, its capital Thiruvananthapuram registered 68.26 per cent voter turnout.
The picture was no different in Tamil Nadu with the state registering 78.29 per cent polling and capital Chennai recording just 68.16 per cent.
D Dhanuraj, a political analyst and Chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Research, said there are several factors that may affect voter turnout in urban cities. “Usually the capital cities of India have a good number of government officials and they might be allotted election duties because of which they may not be present in the city during polling time. Also, as most political action happens in the capital city, residents of such cities are the ones who may get detached from politics. And urban voters are generally not so interested in elections, which could also be one of the reasons for them turning out in low numbers to vote,” he said.
Senior journalist and analyst BRP Bhaskar said that such a “trend” is not specific to India. “I cannot say what the exact reason for this trend in capital cities is. But this can be seen in many bureaucratic capital cities all over the world. Even in other countries, like Washington DC, it is the same. But a study needs to be done on it to find out the reasons behind the trend,” he stated.
The two neighbouring south Indian states on Monday (May 16) went to polls in a single-phase election along with neighbouring Union Territory Puducherry.
This article was firstpublishe in the The News Minute