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Experts cite heat, summer vacation as reasons that kept Delhities away from polling

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Scorching heat, summer vacations and the day falling on a weekend were the main reasons that, experts said, kept people away from polling booths in the national capital.

recorded a voter turnout of 60.34 per cent, five per cent less than during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls which recorded 65.22 per cent polling.

Chief Electoral officer said the turnout this year was the second-highest in the last 30 years.

"It is never possible to compare two different polls, but in 2014, the were on April 10, which was not peak summer or vacation time. Even schools were open then.

"This time, were on a Sunday and with Saturday being a holiday, people might have gone on a vacation to nearby hill stations to escape the heat," he said.

Traditionally has seen low voter turnouts and the percentage would usually be in fifties. The city clocked the highest percentage in 1977, after the Emergency ended.

Former chief election of also concurred with Singh and attributed "Modi wave" as a reason for a record turnout in 2014.

"I feel it is only the weather. That time, the were in April and this time they were in May. Between these two months, the weather becomes hotter. At that time, there was a Modi wave. Plus there was a lot of mobilisation by the and a strong anti-incumbency wave against the This time, it seems, there was less enthusiasm among the voters," he told PTI.

A number of voter awareness activities were carried out then and this time also the poll body carried out awareness campaigns.

"This year's turnout was much better than what was recorded before 2014 when the percentage would be in fifties," he stressed.

A former with the Delhi CEO, requesting anonymity, claimed that people were not very confident about the Election Commission's functioning, which could have been the reason why voters stayed away.

"The had also expressed displeasure over the not taking quick action against politicians for communal and hate speeches during the Lok Sabha campaigning and that probably created a level of mistrust among voters," the said.

The also said the voter engagement activities were similar to what were carried out by the Delhi poll panel in 2014 but the poll body in Delhi should have focussed on "innovative campaigns".

In this context, the official said should have been used widely to reach out to woo young voters.

The official said the weather might have been a factor but stressed that Sunday's weather was better than the other days.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the overall voting percentage was recorded at 51.81 per cent, which increased to 66 per cent in the 2013 election in December in 2013.

The highest ever turnout Delhi witnessed was in the Lok Sabha polls after Emergency was lifted in 1977, at 71.3 per cent.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 13 2019. 21:21 IST