Repeating a low voter turnout of 2018 and 2019, only 52.19 percent voters from Bengaluru Urban exercised their franchise on 10 May. This was over ten percentage below the state average of 65.69 percent recorded till polling closed at 6 pm.
Before the city recorded poor turnout, there were complaints against Information Technology (IT) and Biotechnology (BT) companies regarding a paid holiday not being granted to employees who want to vote. The Quint spoke to a few IT employees who did show up to cast their vote why they decided to exercise their right to vote when many among their colleagues may have just stayed home, enjoying a day off.
Why the Voter Apathy?
Speaking to The Quint, 38-year-old Ajay, who works at Target, said, "A leave has been granted to everyone regardless of being Karnataka residents or not. But...there are people who got the day off and did not vote." Answering why their is voter apathy in Bengaluru Urban, Ajay said:
"I am sure that many did not vote because they know that if you vote for this party or that, it is all the same. There are a lot of people who also don’t want to be hassled. It is possible they tried getting a voter ID but found that it's not always done in time. Bureaucratic issues stop people from voting. I myself had to go to multiple places to get it (Voter ID). So was difficult."
Another employee of a fintech firm, 39-year-old Prashant Kamat, told The Quint:
"People feel their votes are not of use because whoever they vote for, they don't do the right thing. But we have to vote because we have to exercise our franchise. It’s a necessity and people take it for granted but it is not – every vote counts."
"People should not get swayed by free stuff but look at their development. It is also important to look at the smaller picture. I am looking at the person standing in our constituency. Some people do not even know. It is not just about the Centre or the state," Kamat said.
Most exit polls predicted on Wednesday, that amid a tough fight between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the HD Devegowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) might play the kingmaker once again in the race for the Karnataka Assembly. The results will be declared on 13 May.