Acting on a directive from the Central election commission to ensure maximum voter turnout during the Lok Sabha elections, the district administration has chalked out an extensive programme to ensure 100% polling here. However, many here doubt if such an ambitious target can ever be achieved.
This is because the 2014 general elections in which 814.50 million voters exercised their franchise-including 23.1 million in the 18 – 19 years age group-to elect 543 candidates to the Lok Sabha from the 8251 who contested, the average polling percentage was only 66.38 % across 9 phases.
VS Boopal, a resident here, says, “How is 100% polling possible given that national and State elections are totally different and based on different interests?” He adds, “In State elections, issues which affect locals come to the fore and hence polling percentage varies based on the seriousness of the issues. In general elections, the same force [however] does not exist.”
JS Prakash, an AIADMK functionary, says, “When the polling percentage in the last RK Nagar bypoll was only 77.5% despite the open use of money, how can officials expect such unheard percentage [now]?”
A DMK functionary who preferred to remain anonymous, said, “If we can achieve 80% polling itself, it will be a credit to the district administration.”
However, officials seem to leave no stone unturned to achieve the target. A district official said, “Even if we do not achieve 100% polling, the very fact that officials interacted with various sections of the society will by itself show that all sections are now aware of how [voting] machines work.”