Expecting a high voter turnout, the Delhi state election commission has deployed the highest ever workforce for election duty
Historically, voter turnout for local elections has lagged behind state assembly elections and general elections.
For example, a recent report by Janaagraha shows that Surat recorded 40 percent voter turnout in local polls, 30 percent less than state elections and 24 percent less than general elections.
The report gives a list of states with highest voter turnout in local elections. The capital stands fifth in the list with 58 percent voter turnout in the latest MCD polls which was eight percent less than assembly polls and seven percent less than national elections.
But the upcoming MCD elections is proving to be a game changer.
Voter turnout in Delhi
According to the state election commission, in 2012 MCD polls, Delhi recorded 55 percent voter turnout, the highest in 15 years. The BJP won the elections with 138 of 272 seats, 26 seats lesser than 2007. The 2015 assembly elections recorded massive voting of almost 67.08 percent, whereas it was 64 percent in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Voter turnout in MCD elections in 2007 was 42.78 percent, 51 percent in 2002 and 41 percent in 1997. In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the overall voting percentage was recorded at 52.3 percent which increased to 66 percent in the 2013 Delhi assembly elections. The highest voter turnout was recorded in the 1993 polls when 61.75 percent voters exercised their franchise. This was followed by the lowest turnout in 1998 with only 48.99 percent.
The highest voter turnout of 71.3 percent in Delhi was recorded in the Lok Sabha poll held after the Emergency was lifted in 1977. In 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the capital witnessed almost 58.07 percent voting.
Over the past assembly elections in Delhi, after it was granted partial statehood status in 1993, Delhi has seen varying degree of voter turnouts. It was 61.75 percent in 1993, 48.99 percent in 1998 and 57.58 percent in 2008.
The state has an electorate of 1,32,10,206 for this years’ MCD elections, whose outcome will be keenly watched by the rest of India.
MCD polls 2017
The recently concluded Mumbai local polls recorded 55.28 percent voter turnout which is similar to 55 percent turnout it recorded in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
The upcoming MCD polls are likely to see the highest ever turnout in civic polls. With all the political parties campaigning in full swing, the party posters are taking over the heat in the capital. The BJP is not leaving any stones unturned to the extent of featuring prime minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah along with Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari on their posters. The AAP posters bear Arvind Kejriwal versus Vijender Gupta, showing the polls as a direct confrontation between the two parties.
Also, Delhi MCD polls are the only local election with so many changes in political dynamics. The AAP’s Bawana MLA Ved Prakash and Dwarka legislator Bhawana Gaur joined the BJP and Delhi Mahila Congress chief Barkha Singh Shukla resigned while accusing senior leader Ajay Maken of "abusing and threatening" women party workers, and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi of ignoring harassment complaints and joined the BJP on Saturday, a day before Delhi goes to polls.
Moreover, expecting high turnout on April 23, the Delhi state election commission has deployed the highest ever workforce for election duty. Senior officials say that the commission had initially asked for 10 teams of officers but later increased it to 50 teams. “Around 900 officers have been deployed from the ministry of finance alone. This time, we have six times more the number of observers at each district. Keeping in view the political heat that the MCD polls are gathering, the state election commission is expecting a really high voter turnout.”
Read the Janaagraha report here