Campaigns urging people to vote proves damp squib in BangaloreApril 23rd, 2009 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS
Bangalore, April 23 (IANS) Nothing it seems can goad reluctant and apathetic Bangaloreans to come out from their houses to vote - as India’s tech hub Thursday recorded a low of 47 percent turnout despite several campaigns to encourage people to use their democratic right.
There are 5.9 million eligible voters in three parliamentary constituencies of Bangalore - South, Central and North. The overall overall vote percent in Karnataka was 51.
The voting figures came as a shock to the people involved in awareness campaigns asking people to vote.
“The figures are disappointing. This time we were hoping that the voting percentage in Bangalore would increase. But that didn’t happen,” Harish Narasappa, a member of smartvote.in, told IANS.
Janaagraha, a Bangalore based NGO involved in campaign to vote, said all efforts were lost.
“We’ve tried our best to persuade people to vote in Bangalore. But, unfortunately people did not respond. But, we’ll continue our campaign till the next elections,” said a Janaagraha official.
Bangalore in last one month saw several campaigns by NGOs urging people to vote and choose their right candidate.
But nothing seemed to have worked to increase the voting figures. There were nation wide campaigns like ‘Jaago Re (Wake up)! One Billion Votes’ and ’smartvote.in’.
Tata Tea, a Tata group company, in collaboration with Janaagraha launched the ‘Jaago Re (Wake up)! One Billion Votes’ campaign six months ago to encourage youth voters.
Janaagraha also organised rock concerts featuring Bangalore rock group, Thermal and A Quarter. The band toured Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai with its “Shut Up and Vote” concert. It rounded off the campaign in Bangalore.
Other campaigns which featured prominently in Bangalore were “Let’s Vote” by Round Table India, Karnataka Chapter and “Sache ko chune, Achche ko chune” (Vote for integrity, Vote for good people) on TV and in print, featuring actor-filmmaker Aamir Khan.
However, when it comes to voting, Bangalore voters have always fared poorly.
As per the official statistics, 56 percent of the registered voters in Bangalore did not cast their vote during the assembly elections in May last year.
“The voting figures are no surprise for me. All these campaigns are high on glamour quotient, mostly endorsed by film stars. But, people know the ground reality. No single candidate is honest and earnest towards issues like development, growth and security. Thus majority choose not to vote,” said entrepreneur Navin Gowda, 35.
Echoing Gowda, Neelima Sharma, a homemaker said that nobody votes simply because some star was asking them to vote.
“People are totally disillusioned. India as a nation is facing multi-layered problems, including terrorism and economic slowdown. Politicians for long have failed people. Politicians buy votes and only those who take money from politicians vote,” said Sharma, 45.
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