- Voters of the two entirely urban Kolkata constituencies went missing from polling booths after 3pm on Sunday
- This brought down the vote percentage of the city below the level seen in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll
- In Kolkata North, 43.6% of voters turned out by 1 pm; by 3pm, this went up to 54.9%
KOLKATA: Voters of the two entirely urban Kolkata constituen constituencies went missing from polling booths after 3pm on Sunday, pulling down the city proper’s vote percentage be below the level seen in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll.
Kolkata North and Kolkata South are the two only Lok Sabha seats with every booth within the municipal corporation area and turnouts here have habitually lagged behind those of Bengal’s 40 other seats. But despite this history and the oppressive heat in the morning, both the constituencies looked as if they would better their 2014 performance, only to fall short in the last quarter of polling.
In Kolkata North, 43.6% of voters turned out by 1 pm; by 3pm, this went up to 54.9%. But, according to EC’s provisional figures, the end-of-day percentage was barely 61.1%; so only a little more than 6% of voters turned up in the last three hours.
In Kolkata South, 43.8% queued up by 1pm; this spiked (by about 15%) to 58.6% in the next two hours. But, the next three hours saw a reversal of this trend; the provisional figure stood at 67% by end of day, lower than the 2014 figure of 69.3%.
EC officials admitted that turnout fell abruptly after 3pm and this “completely reversed the encouraging steady turnout witnessed from 7am”. The sudden dip after 3pm — when many Bengal constituencies saw an appreciable surge this year — came as a surprise. The dip was all the more surprising given the high-voltage drama — over BJP president Amit Shah’s roadshow and the subsequent desecration of Vidyasagar’s bust — that happened in Kolkata barely five days before the poll. Even TMC leaders who expected a voter surge, given the average Bengali voter’s reverence for Vidyasagar and other heroes of the Bengali Renaissance, expressed surprise at the low turnout, especial, the afternoon dip.
The voting pattern also went against the trend of how Bengal has voted this time. The state’s overall voting percentage of 83.8 this year has exceeded the 2014 turnout of 81.1%. Kolkata South Trinamool candidate Mala Roy said there were complaints of malfunctioning EVMs and the VVPAT process, leading to long queues in the morning. Poll officials, however, said that could not be a reason for low olling, especially as the situation eased out later.Source : timesofindia