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Urban apathy continues unabated from Shimla to Surat: 'Concerned' EC urges Gujarat voters to come out in large numbers in second phase

The EC said that the voting percentage increased in many constituencies in Gujarat in the first-phase polling but the overall turnout was diminished by the urban apathy to voting in key districts such as Surat, Rajkot and Jamnagar. 

Urban apathy continues unabated from Shimla to Surat: 'Concerned' EC urges Gujarat voters to come out in large numbers in second phase

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Saturday (December 3, 2022) said that the "Urban apathy" continues unabated from Shimla to Surat and appealed to the voters of Gujarat to come out in large numbers in the second phase of the Assembly elections to compensate for low voting in first phase. According to the poll body, the voting percentage increased in many constituencies in Gujarat in the first-phase polling on December 1 but the overall turnout was diminished by the urban apathy to voting in key districts such as Surat, Rajkot and Jamnagar. In urban constituencies, in Himachal Pradesh, too many voters shied away from polling stations in the assembly elections held last month. The urban assembly seat of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh recorded the lowest turnout in the state at 62.53 per cent, 13 percentage points less than the state average of 75.6 per cent.

The EC said that cities in Gujarat have also shown a trend of urban apathy to voting, pulling down the overall turnout in the first phase, .

Voter turnout in Surat, Rajkot and Jamnagar was lower than the overall 63.3 per cent in the first phase of Gujarat assembly elections, it said.

Noting the voter turnout figures with "concern", Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar appealed to the voters of Gujarat to come out in large numbers during the second-phase polling on December 5 to make up for the low voting in the first phase.

"The possibility of surpassing 2017 voting percentage now lies in their increased participation only," the poll panel said.

According to EC, the Gandhidham AC in Kuchchh district, which has industrial establishments, recorded the lowest polling percentage of 47.86%, a sharp decline of 6.34% than the last election in 2017, recording a new low. 

The second lowest voting was in the Karanj constituency of Surat, which is also 5.37 % lower than its own low of 55.91% in 2017. 

"Major cities and urban areas of Gujrat have not only recorded a decline in voting percentage as compared to 2017 elections, but have also voted much less than State average of 63.3%. Decline in Rajkot west is very sharp at 10.56%," the Election Commission said.

"Had the voting percentage in these assembly constituencies been even equal to the level of their own voting percentage in 2017 election, the state average would have been more than 65 per cent," the EC underlined in a statement.

There was a visible difference in the turnouts between rural and urban constituencies, the poll body stated.

The difference is as wide as 34.85 percentage points between the rural constituency of Dediapada in the Narmada district (82.71 per cent) and the urban seat of Gandhidham (47.86 pc).

Also, the average turnout in important urban areas is lower than the turnout in rural constituencies.

"Within many districts, rural constituencies have voted much more than the urban constituencies. For example, in Rajkot, there is a decline (in turnout) in all the urban assembly constituencies," it said.

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