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Sectors lose out to colonies in voter strength

Chandigarh has more voting population living in its slums,colonies and villages than in the sectors,according to figures available with the UT Administration.

Written by Khushboo Sandhu | Chandigarh |
February 4, 2009 12:07:54 am

In the last Lok Sabha polls,the voting percentage in colonies and villages was around 65 to 70 per cent,way above the sectors where only 35 to 40 per cent people exercised their franchise

Chandigarh has more voting population living in its slums,colonies and villages than in the sectors,according to figures available with the UT Administration.

The Bapu Dham Colony in Sector 26 alone has more voters than in Sectors 1 to 12.

The trends in the last Lok Sabha elections showed that the voting percentage — around 65 to 70 per cent — was higher in the colonies and villages,while that in the sectors was around 35 to 40 per cent only.

According to the electoral list for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections,there are 4,83,989 voters in the city. Of these,around 2.1 lakh people live in the sectors,while the rest are from the villages,slums and colonies.

With a gradual increase in the number of migrant population,they comprise more than 30 per cent population of the city at present. And the indifference of the urban voters towards elections only ensures that the colonies play an important vote bank for all political parties.

BSP convener Harmohan Dhawan says: “Every vote is important during elections. The number of voters in each sector will determine the areas that we focus on. More energy is focused on areas where the number of voters is more and also where more residents go out to vote. We are hopeful of support from all parts of the city.”

Compared to the southern sectors,the northern part of the city is thinly populated. There are only 605 voters in Sectors 1 to 6,while Sector 9 has around 1,220 voters. As one moves southwards,the concentration of voters increases. Sector 20 has more than 10,000 voters,while there are more than 7,000 voters in Sector 29 and more than 8,000 in Sector 45. Sectors 48 to 61 have a number of cooperative societies and hence have more voters.

The colonies in Sector 26 have more than 17,000 voters. Colony Number 5 alone has more than 11,000 voters,while Dadumajra has more than 10,000.

The importance given to slums and colonies can be gauged from the fact that the political parties have started their campaign from these areas. The issues that are being taken up — regularisation of construction in colonies,better facilities et al — are focused on the residents living here.

In the Lok Sabha elections in 2004,Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Satya Pal Jain lost to Congress candidate Pawan Bansal by a margin of around 48,000 votes. Of these,44,000 votes were polled against Jain in the colonies. He had performed better in the sectors.

“The price rise has hit the people in the colonies most. With the rise of the BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party),the Congress votes are likely to be affected. We will definitely gain in the colonies this year,” says Jain.

Congress leader Pardeep Chhabra,meanwhile,says the people living in the sectors should come out and vote. “The focus of the party has been on the overall development of the city. But it is only the voters in colonies and villages who turn out in high numbers. It is important that the urban voters do not treat the election day as another holiday,” he says.

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