Low voter turnout a key concern in Uttar Pradesh's second phase of Lok Sabha elections

The polling percentages of 49.29% in Mathura and 49.65% in Ghaziabad contributed to the decrease in overall voting turnout during the second phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Shantanu Poswal
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Courtesy: X (ECI)

Despite the Election Commission's efforts to boost voter participation, apprehensions grew over the lower voter turnout in Uttar Pradesh as the second phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha election witnessed a turnout of 54.85% across eight parliamentary constituencies. This figure marked a decrease of 7% from the 62% voting observed for the same seats in 2019.

Droppinng Turnout Figures

The turnout in the second phase was notably affected by the polling percentages in specific constituencies. For instance, Mathura recorded a turnout of 49.29%, indicating an almost 12% drop from the 61.03% recorded in 2019. Similarly, Ghaziabad saw a 6% decrease, with a turnout of 49.65% compared to 55.83% five years ago.

Among the other constituencies in the second phase, Amroha saw a turnout of 64.02%, followed by Meerut at 58.70%, Aligarh at 56.62%, Baghpat at 55.97%, Bulandshahr at 55.79%, and Gautam Buddh Nagar at 53%, as per Election Commission data.

Reasons Behind Low Turnout

The lower turnout in the first phase prompted political parties to adjust their campaign strategies and mobilise booth-level workers to encourage maximum voter participation. The Election Commission also directed district officers to motivate voters to exercise their franchise. However, these efforts seemed insufficient as voter enthusiasm remained subdued.

Political observers attributed the lack of enthusiasm among voters to various factors, including the heatwave, absence of emotive issues, ongoing agricultural activities in rural areas, disenchantment among grassroots party workers who typically mobilise voters, and rising temperatures.

The declining turnout sparked claims and counter-claims among political parties. Some leaders expressed optimism based on trends favouring their parties, while others highlighted dissatisfaction among voters and predicted outcomes based on these sentiments.

Efforts to Boost Turnout

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar had previously acknowledged the lower polling percentage in Uttar Pradesh compared to the national average. The Election Commission launched several initiatives and deployed measures to enhance voter turnout, including a voter turnout implementation plan, friendly facilities for senior citizens and persons with disabilities, and the Saksham App to assist voters. These efforts aimed to address specific polling challenges and increase overall voter participation.