Bhopal: Rural Madhya Pradesh has demolished a common perception that urban citizens are more aware about their rights compared to them. While the four major cities of MP came out to vote in small numbers, voting percentage was quite high in the rural areas- a fact that demonstrates that rural people are more aware about their democratic right.
The highest voter turnout in Bhopal in 2013 assembly elections was 65.19% in Huzur constituency closely followed by Narela with 65.14%. Almost same trend was observed in Indore where average voter turnout stood around 66%. Similarly, in Jabalpur only around 64% people came out to vote. In Gwalior, the picture is more worrisome as two constituencies in the district showed 54% and 57% while for the other two constituencies the voting turnout stood at around 61%.
Total voting during 2013 assembly elections in the state was 72.07% (73.86% male and 70.09% female). The Election Commission has decided to take the voting percentage this election to 80% — a hike of about 8%. Chief Electoral Officer, MP, VL Kantha Rao admitted there was an urban apathy factor during voting. “Several people take the day as a holiday and don’t go out to exercise their franchise. We have designed special audio and video messages for the urban class to bring them to polling booths,” said Rao.
Rao said voter awareness programmes are also being held in various cities. ‘Run for election marathon’ would be organized in Indore besides other activities planned for the state capital and other cities. Moreover, a voter declaration form is being filled by the citizens through the election commission volunteers.
There are 38 constituencies in the state where voter turnout crossed more than 80%. Malhargarh constituency of Mandsaur district recorded the highest voting at 86.20%. Not a single city from across the state crossed 80% voting. All 38 constituencies that turned out to vote crossing 80% were rural.
Overall, 118 constituencies all belong to rural part of the state participated in the festival of democracy with enthusiasm and turned in more than 70%. There are only 7 constituencies where voter turnout was below 60%. Jobat holds the record for lowest turnout at 49.41%.