DAINIK NATION BUREAU
The low voter turn out in many constituencies located in mountainous areas of the state indicate that despite high pitched voter awareness drive by authorities, the effect of migration on polls is quite apparent. A look on the voting pattern shows that the districts facing the maximum brunt of migration exhibit low voter turnout. In mountainous Pauri district only 54.49 per cent voters turned out to vote while in Almora the voting percentage was only 53. In Pauri 56.92 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the assembly elections of 2012 but this time it has further dropped.
There are six assembly constituencies in Pauri district and here too the there is stark difference in vote percentage. In Chaubattakhal, Lansdowne and Pauri assembly constituencies considered remote, the vote percentage was 48.33, 47.52 and 52.50 respectively as compared to constituencies like Kotdwar- a predominately plain area- where 68 per cent voters came out to vote. In Salt, a remote and mountainous constituency located in Almora district, the vote percentage was a mere 46.22. Interestingly these two districts also show high literacy rates; the census of 2011 put the literacy rate of Pauri and Almora at 82 and 80 percent respectively.
Although Poll pundits blame migration as the reason for low voting percentage. They point out that there is a big population of people who don’t reside in the villages as it has migrated to cities in search of jobs but they are still registered in the voter list or prefer to remain in electoral rolls of their native places for many reasons. These people remain absent on the day of voting thus pulling down the vote percentage.
“There are many people in our village who are working and living in cities like Dehradun and Delhi but are in the electoral rolls here. On the day of polling some of them turned up to vote but the majority of them stayed away,’’ said T S Rawat of Chaubattakhal assembly constituency.
A similar logic was given by the supporter of BJP candidate Satpal Maharaj, who is contesting from Chaubattakhal, that many people living outside are registered in the electoral rolls for reasons like getting domicile certificate.