ALMOST EVERY third voter in the Lok Sabha polls in the City Beautiful was from colonies. Polling booths at colonies bordering the city recorded the highest voter turnouts while people in many sectors preferred to stay indoors, thereby pulling down the polling percentage. Although Chandigarh is considered an urban parliamentary constituency, votes from the rural areas as well as the slums are often decisive in the city as they constitute almost 50 per cent of the total votes.
According to the details compiled by the election department, the highest voter turnout of 85.41 per cent was recorded at the polling stations at Government Model High School, Sector 25, which received voters from Bapudham and Government Model School (SMART), Sector 53, close to the slums.
Next in line was Maloya colony with 84.59 and 84.52 per cent turnout at stations at Anganwadi Building No. 2 and Government High School, respectively.
Dadumajra colony, which has been battling the mountain of garbage nextdoor, also polled a handsome 84.22 per cent and 83.44 per cent.
Even in the Indira Colony, Manimajra, the polling percentage hovered between 83.32 and 83.64 per cent.
Uneducated vote more
These slums and colonies were established in Chandigarh over three decades ago. Dr Ashutosh Kumar, a political scientist at Panjab University, maintains that it is now a trend that “the uneducated is voting more than the educated and the rich”.
“Dadumajra colony is the oldest colony. All these colonies have grown a lot over the years because the lower working class that comes to Chandigarh for work can’t afford housing in Chandigarh and settles down in these colonies,” Dr Ashutosh told Chandigarh Newsline.
The polling stations in the sectors, on the contrary, recorded a low turnout.
The polling station at Government High School, Sector 31-C, recorded the least with 47.05 per cent followed by Government High School Sector 47 with 50.58 per cent.
Next in line were Government Model High School, New Building, Sector 26, with 51.17 per cent, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 20-B with 51.79 per cent, Kids are Kids School, Sector 42-C with 52.21 per cent, Government Model High School, Sector 43-A with 53.76 per cent and Government Model High School, Sector 54, with 55.09 per cent.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Aam Aadmi Party, which was fighting its first Lok Sabha election, had fetched votes from colony areas and had created a dent in slum areas which were mostly Congress vote bank. The BJP had regained its urban vote bank in the city during 2014 polls, a study by the IDC had stated at that time.
Dr Ashutosh says that the issue of nationalism and words like “andar ghus ke maarenge” are attracting people towards the BJP.
A Congress worker on condition of anonymity said, “In fact, BJP sought votes only in the name of Modi. People in slum and colony areas have been attracted by schemes like housing for all. To some extent, it can act as a spoiler.”
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