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Friday, August 19, 2022

Will Chandigarh vote for change this time?

A steady decline in the voting percentage of Chandigarh over the years illustrates a disturbing trend — it seems residents of the city have lost interest in exercising their right to vote.

Voting percentage has undergone a steady decline over the years

A steady decline in the voting percentage of Chandigarh over the years illustrates a disturbing trend — it seems residents of the city have lost interest in exercising their right to vote.

1996 has the distinction of being the year of the highest voter turn-out with 82.6 per cent of residents casting their vote while 1999 was the nadir when not even half the residents (48.3 per cent) bothered to vote.

In the first Lok Sabha elections in 1967,a respectable 65 per cent of residents had cast their vote. Till the elections in 1989,the percentage stayed above 60 — 62 per cent in 1971,67 per cent in 1971,63 per cent in 1980,68 per cent in 1984 and 65 per cent in 1989.

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But then began the decline. Voting percentage decreased to 57 per cent in 1991. After peaking in 1996,in the next elections the figures plunged to 53.69 per cent in 1998. As the NDA government fell within a year in 1999,it seems the people lost the will to vote. During the last general elections (2004),only 51.14 per cent people exercised their franchise.

And so Ajay Jagga,an advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court,has plan up his sleeve to remedy the situation — he has launched a website to encourage people to vote.

“The residents feel that political parties have failed to raise issues that pertain to the original inhabitants of the city. The residents of the colonies and villages vote in abundance and it seems their issues have become more prominent for parties,” he said.

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Professor Manjit Singh from the Department of Sociology,Panjab University,said the trend points towards the alienation of the middle class. “The residents are disenchanted with politics and feel that politicians work for their own interests. The youth,meanwhile,is not inclined towards voting — it is a concept alien to their mental framework,” he said.

First published on: 17-04-2009 at 01:02:39 am
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