Despite fierce contest, poor UP vote big worry for parties : The Tribune India

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Despite fierce contest, poor UP vote big worry for parties

At 58.22%, polling 10% lower than national average in Phase-4

Despite fierce contest, poor UP vote big worry for parties


Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 14

The fourth phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh witnessed yet another disappointing voter turnout, with nearly 42 per cent of eligible voters abstaining from casting their vote. Polling for 36 of 80 seats has been completed in the first four phases in Uttar Pradesh, which has the highest number of 80 Lok Sabha constituencies.

Experts cite heatwave, migration

  • Experts have cited various reasons, including the prevailing heatwave and rush at polling booths due to technical snags in voting machines
  • However, ground reports indicate that the poor turnout is also due to huge migration of residents to other states in search of job opportunities

Despite a fierce contest between the NDA and INDIA bloc, voter participation in the country’s most populous state has failed to surpass the 60% mark, leading to worry in both camps. Polling data released by the Election Commission (EC) revealed a grim picture of poor participation by the voters, exposing that voter enthusiasm in UP has seen a steady decline from the first phase, when it had recorded its highest turnout at 61.11%. Subsequently, the turnout dipped to 55.19% in the second phase and 57.55% in the third phase. In the fourth phase on Monday, in which polling was done for 13 LS seats, a turnout of 58.22% was recorded, a fall of over 10% against the nationwide figure of 68.17%.

In several constituencies across UP, where competition was neck to neck, the average voter turnout remained stagnant, leaving contenders, poll experts and even EC officials puzzled.

Experts have cited various reasons, including the prevailing heat wave and rush at polling booths due to technical snags in voting machines. However, ground reports indicate that the poor turnout is also due to huge migration of residents to other states in search of employment opportunities.

According to the 2011 Census, the total number of inter-state migrant workers in India stood at a staggering 4.14 crore. UP contributed significantly to this figure, with 31.56 lakh individuals migrating to other states in search of employment opportunities.

A 2020-21 survey revealed that the state was among the largest migrant-sending states in the country, wit h 12.32 million inter-state out-migrants and a staggering 52 million internal migrants. The e-shram portal indicates that UP has approximately 8.34 crore registered labourers, highest in the country.

“Not only did many migrate to other states, but the electoral participation of the entire labour class also remains a complex issue as most of them are reluctant to prioritise voting over their daily wages,” said Vijay Walia, a Patiala-based labour rights activist.

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