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EC identifies 266 LS seats with low voter turnout
‘One size fits all approach won’t work’
4/5/2024 11:45:08 PM

New Delhi, Apr 5:

The Election Commission on Friday said it has identified 266 parliamentary constituencies, including 215 in rural areas, with low voter turnout and is planning targeted intervention to enhance voting percentage in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Municipal commissioners from major cities and select district election officers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh discussed enhancing voter engagement and participation in identified urban and rural Lok Sabha seats.
At its conference on low voter turnout here, the EC said 266 parliamentary constituencies — 215 rural and 51 urban — with low voter turnout have been identified.
Eleven states and Union territories – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand – had a voter turnout lower than the national average of 67.40 per cent in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Addressing the participants, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar stressed that ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work and different strategies have to be worked out for different areas and segments.
Polling for the seven-phased Lok Sabha polls begins on April 19.
Kumar emphasised on a three-pronged strategy of providing facilitation at polling stations, such as queue management, sheltered parking in congested areas; targeted outreach and communication; and involvement of critical stakeholders including RWAs, local icons and youth influencers to persuade people to come to polling stations on voting day.
He told officials to prepare a booth-wise action plan for enhanced participation and behaviour change.
He asked the participants to prepare different strategies for urban and rural areas and plan interventions accordingly for different target audiences.
Discussions were centred on critical issues such as optimising queue management at polling stations and facilitating voting in high-rise buildings.
Urban specific hurdles to increased voter turnout were identified and targeted city-specific interventions were planned. The officers were encouraged to develop tailored, region-specific outreach programs that resonate with the unique needs and demographics of their constituencies.
The Commission recalled that nearly 29.7 crore eligible voters did not vote in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections “underscoring the scale of the problem which calls for proactive measures”.
In the last Lok Sabha elections, of the 50 seats with the lowest voter turnout, 17 were in metropolitans or major cities.
It said recent elections across various states have highlighted trends of urban apathy towards the electoral process, warranting targeted interventions and collaborative endeavours.
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