'Deeply Disturbing': Shashi Tharoor Reacts After X User Claims Shirur Voters Chose Shivajirao Adhalrao Over Amol Kolhe Due To Symbol Confusion

'Deeply Disturbing': Shashi Tharoor Reacts After X User Claims Shirur Voters Chose Shivajirao Adhalrao Over Amol Kolhe Due To Symbol Confusion

Voting for the Shirur Lok Sabha seat took place on Monday. As per provisional figures provided by the Election Commission of India (ECI), a 51.25% voter turnout was recorded, significantly lower than 2019’s 59.44%

Aakash SinghUpdated: Tuesday, May 14, 2024, 12:16 PM IST
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Voting for the Shirur Lok Sabha seat took place on Monday. As per provisional figures provided by the Election Commission of India (ECI), a 51.25% voter turnout was recorded, significantly lower than 2019’s 59.44%.

The Ambegaon Assembly segment recorded the highest voter turnout — 61%, followed by 56.35% in Junnar, 55.29% in Khed-Alandi, 46.21% in Bhosari, and 45.36% in Hadapsar.

The contest was prominently between NCP(SP) candidate Amol Kolhe and NCP nominee Shivajirao Adhalrao.

Meanwhile, an X (formerly Twitter) thread is going viral, claiming that many voters were confused over the poll symbols of the two candidates. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Kolhe fought the election on the 'clock' symbol as the NCP was not split at the time. However, following the split last year, Sharad Pawar's faction was given the 'man blowing trumpet' symbol. On the other hand, Adhalrao, who was with the undivided Shiv Sena last time, switched to Ajit Pawar's party just before the elections and contested on the 'clock' symbol. The thread claims that many voters who wanted to vote for Sharad Pawar's party mistakenly pressed the 'clock' symbol as they weren't aware of the 'man blowing trumpet' symbol.

The post shared by Kedar Anil Gadgil read, "I voted. But observed a disturbing trend. The problem is that the BJ Party has muddied the waters in MH by design. I belong to the Shirur constituency where Amol Kolhe (NCP-Sharadchandra Pawar, with INDIA bloc) was against Adhalrao Patil (NCP-Ajit Pawar, with NDA) (sic)."

"There were two people ahead of me: one apparently educated, middle-aged, middle-class senior citizen (Voter A) and one very old (bent over), apparently poor rural woman with limited education (Voter B). Voter A was having trouble reading in the dark booth (why aren't EVMs backlit?) and could not see the candidate he was voting for. He struggled, then exited the booth and asked for some light. The officer offered him the sample ballot paper to read in better light. Voter A gave it a cursory look, immediately finding what he was looking for, and went back, voted, and came out. He realized he had his shoelaces untied, so stopped to tie them while Voter B voted and came out. I quickly voted and came out. Saw them outside. The man probably walking to his car (we were told to park 100m away) and the lady right behind him (sic)," he added.

"As small talk (I love to interact with people), I remarked how dark it was inside and he said yes. It was his first time. He said he was confused because he could not see. Anyway, he said, he perused the sample ballot paper, saw the 'clock' (NCP-Ajit Pawar, NDA) on top, voted, and came out. I said, I voted for the 'Man blowing trumpet' (NCP-Sharad Pawar, INDIA). This was happening in Marathi. The lady behind us piped in, 'I too voted for the clock. As always.' The 'as always' got me thinking. I asked her if she wanted to vote for Congress or BJP, and she said, 'Of course, Congress'. The man said he too. They both looked puzzled. And the penny dropped. Both voters thought they were voting for the INC-backed INDIA bloc when they voted for the clock symbol. Anyone in marketing knows how expensive and time-consuming it is to communicate a change in one's logo to one's loyal customers. The BJ Party knew this too. And so, this whole manipulation of symbols was by design. I am not alleging the Speaker of the House and the SC are sold out. I am claiming that there was most definitely a clear planned conspiracy by the BJ Party to deprive these symbols of their rightful owners. And prima facie, their plan seems to have worked (sic)," Gadgil added.

"Both the original parties (SS and NCP) who were denied their own symbols tried hard to educate the voters, but given the financial limitations of the MCC and the limited time they had, they could only do so much. I do not know how many votes were lost this way today. But I was explaining 'muddying the waters' to my 9yo daughter just last week. And this one here is a perfect example of that. We'll know how much damage this has done only on the 4th June. Fingers crossed (sic)," he further said.

This thread reached senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who said this was "deeply disturbing". He wrote, "This is deeply disturbing. But uninformed voters will get the (mis)government they deserve. Knowing who you want to vote for is one of the basic responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy."

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