15,000 weddings on poll day to spoil voter

May 6th, 2009 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) Political parties are concerned that an estimated 15,000 weddings on the polling day Thursday could play a spoiler for the capital’s voter turnout.
According to priests, Thursday is a very auspicious day for weddings and thousands will be tying the knot.

“There are around 10,000 to 15,000 weddings scheduled for Thursday. It is Narsimha Jayanti - a very auspicious day. It is said that the time and planetary movements will be favourable for a marriage as the wedding will last forever,” Ravinder Nagar, head ‘acharya’ (head priest) of the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, told IANS.

Apprehensive of a lower voter turnout affecting the political equation in the capital, several candidates are making personal appeals to people to find time and vote.

“In a wedding, family and friends may not find time to vote. Still, if there is a low voter turn out it is likely to affect everybody. The Congress vote share will also be affected because we feel most people are inclined to vote for us,” said Krishna Tirath, northwest Delhi’s Congress candidate.

Tirath like other candidates has been briefing party workers and polling agents to appeal to families involved in weddings to come and vote early.

“I am aware that this would affect the voter turnout. Still we are trying our best. We have instructed our polling agents to tally with voter list from time to time and talk them into coming early to vote. This should work to some degree,” Virender Sachdeva, Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party secretary told IANS.

Over 11 million people are eligible to vote to elect representatives from Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha constituencies Thursday. Voting will begin at 7 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. at 11,348 polling booths across the capital.

Incidentally, on November 29, 2008 when the Delhi assembly elections were held, nearly 20,000 weddings had reportedly taken place. The voter turnout then was 59.78 percent.

“People are free to engage in social functions - we wish the families luck but we want them to realize that the voting time is not too long. So they must spare time and come vote early in the morning,” Delhi Deputy Electoral Officer Uday Bakshi said.

Bakshi added that although voter turnout in other places has not been high, Delhi voters despite the weddings should “take the lead and vote in full force”.

Virender Kaur, a resident of south Delhi, said: “My daughter is getting married Thursday evening. There are preparations to be done. I don’t think I will have time to vote. But we will try.”

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