Manipal witnesses low turnout in Municipal Council elections2 min read
Manipal: Elections for the Urban Local Bodies of Karnataka held on March 7 saw Manipal’s voter turnout of 58.34%; significantly lower than the city average of 72.08% and the district average of 75.12%. Based on the 2007 ward-wise reservation format, Manipal was ward number 18 of the 35 wards under the Udupi City Municipal Council.
There were three candidates, one each from the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (Secular). Two polling stations with Electronic Voting were stationed at the Manipal Junior College. In station 41, of the 861 registered, 462 cast their votes whereas station 42 with 1,168 registered voters saw 736 people cast their ballot. The elections which were held from 7am to 5pm did see an almost equal turnout from the men and women, with the men outnumbering the women by 15.
Rita D’Silva, a senior resident felt that given the political scenario, it was easier to go with a candidate she personally knew from Congress and expected to be transparent. She said, “The BJP party only donates money to temples and develops those areas, or so the locality here says. You can’t blame the party though.” On the other spectrum, Varun Hegde, PR Executive and owner of Auric Pebbles, an event management company voted for the BJP, trusting the changes they’ve made. He said, “The BJP has done a lot of things in the state, several improvements have been made in Udupi as well.”
Concerned more about the upcoming Assembly elections, Santhosh Tingdya, a chef from Belgaum expects Congress to do well at the upcoming Assembly elections. He said, “BJP has been unstable in Karnataka, with changing the Chief Minister thrice and fellow members breaking away to other parties. MLA Raghupathy Bhat (Udupi) is good, he’s doing what he can using government aids but Congress’s Pramod Madhwaraj takes a personal interest in the people as well.”
Ravindra Shetty, a security guard of Premier Greenwoods, Manipal also agreed and said, “He (Madhwaraj) helps the poor, helps finance weddings for girls if their family can’t afford it, provides compensation to the family when someone dies, and things like that. He never turns one down if they need it.”
The Deputy Commissioner of Manipal, Dr. M. T. Reju, was reassured when the elections turned out to be a smooth sailing in Manipal, without any panic or problems. There were minor incidents reported from other wards under the Mangalore City Corporation Council.
The election held across the state was for 201 City Municipal Councils, Town Municipal Councils, Town Panchayats and seven City Corporations. The results will be announced on March 11.
Sub-edited by Sabari Saran