High turnout in Chandigarh civic polls

December 18th, 2011 - 1:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Chandigarh, Dec 18 (IANS) Voter turnout for the city’s civic polls has been impressive this time, even in the upscale areas which earlier saw around 35 percent turnout.

Chandigarh residents created a record of sorts for themselves with 60 percent of the 500,000 voters casting their franchise Saturday for the 26 wards of the municipal corporation elections. Though voting was slated to end 5 p.m., the long queues forced officials to allow the people to cast their votes. In many places, voting ended well after 7.30 p.m.

Counting takes place Monday.

Most of the results are expected by afternoon, an election official said here.

The nearly 60 percent turnout of voters is much higher than the 45 percent turnout in the 2006 municipal corporation polls. In ward number six, over 75 percent of the voters cast their votes.

In polls in 1996, the voting percentage was 46 while in 2001 it was 32 percent.

In ward number 1, comprising the city’s upscale sectors 1 to 11 where most of the VIPs, bureaucrats, influential and rich people reside, the voter turnout was an impressive 52 percent compared to lows of 30-35 percent earlier.

Voting, which started at 8 a.m. Saturday, picked up slowly during the day. By 5 p.m., when voting was to officially end, only 45 votes had been cast. However, the actual voting ended much later in the evening as all those queued up at polling stations were allowed to cast their vote.

The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiromani Akali Dal (BJP-SAD) combine claimed that higher voting augured well for them.

“People want a change. The higher voting percentage means people are fed up of the Congress,” Chandigarh BJP president Sanjay Tandon said.

“We are happy with the increase in the voting percentage. The people’s verdict will be in our favour,” Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) president B.B. Bahl said.

The municipal corporation house has 36 members, including 26 elected, nine nominated and the local MP (union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal).

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