Sunday, January 8, 2017

Almost 50% Puneites could not vote due to systemic failure: Survey

8 January 2017

PUNE: Around 50 per cent of Puneites could not exercise their voting rights during the local body elections due to “systemic” failures, which included faulty voters’ list. This was one of the five major reasons given by Puneites for not voting in the recent polls, during the course of a survey conducted by Gokhale Institute of Economics and Politics to understand the reason for low turnout during the civic elections.

Both Pune and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (PMC and BMC) since the last few local elections have noticed poor turnouts. During the 2012 polls, Pune had seen 55 per cent voting while BMC had seen 45 per cent voting.

In order to understand the reasons for this, the State Election Commission had asked Gokhale Institute to conduct a survey. The institute, along with Symbiosis College of Arts and Science and Symbiosis School of Economics, had surveyed six wards in PMC and 11 wards in BMC to understand the reason behind this.

Manasi Phadke, lead researcher of the survey, said that in Pune, the wards of NIBM, Vimannagar, Balewadi and Kothrud were chosen as they had traditionally seen low voter turnout — between 40-45 per cent. Wards of Hadapsar and Alka Talkies were taken in as they saw slightly higher turnout — 52- 60 per cent. “300 respondents per ward were interviewed during the course of the survey,” she said.

Low voters turnout were reported in far-flung areas as well as among well educated and well offs. In far-flung areas, lesser interest among the people in local politics was seen as the main reason for low turnout, as 20 per cent Puneites claimed zero interest in local politics. Invariably people who have migrated to Pune from other areas for job too had lower interest in local politics.

In order to gauge the engagement of the residents with the local body, the researchers used an index terming as the PMC Engagement Index. This Index measured the number of times people in the ward had spoken to their local corporator or gone to the PMC for work. Invariably, Balewadi and Vimannagar respondents scored low on this index as compared to Alka Talkies or Hadapsar respondents.

The survey had also classified voters as rare (who did not vote for last two civic elections), intermittent (who had voted at least once in the last two civic polls) and regular (who had voted for both). It showed that 30 per cent of Puneites were rare voters, while 40 per cent intermittent and 30 per cent falling in regular voters category. “Wards to the north Balewadi and Vimannagar had higher proportion of intermittent voters and women are more intermittent voters than men,” the lead researcher of the survey said.

Failure to find their names in the voters’ list along with complaints of missing name accounted for 50 per cent of the respondents failing to vote. While 23 per cent said they did not vote as they thought it would not change anything. 20 per cent said they thought their vote did not matter. Around 23 per cent of the respondents said they were out of town during polls. “In our recommendations to the State Election Commissioner, we have asked them to ensure the process of drawing up voters’ list be made perfect,” Phadke said.


Post a Comment