Mumbai Votes 2 – Low voter turnout – Does it care only for stock market turnover?

Mumbai  41%
Constituency Name Area Sitting MP  Party % votes % votes of total
Mumbai North  Dahisar – Malad (W) Sanjay Nirupam Congress 37.24% 15.27%
Mumbai North – West Goregaon – Andheri Gurudas Kamath Congress 35.91% 14.72%
Mumbai North – East Mankhurd – Ghatkopar Sanjay Patil Congress 32.60% 13.37%
Mumbai North Central Vile Parle – Bandra Priya Dutt Congress 48.04% 19.70%
Mumbai South Central Chembur – Sion Eknath Gaikwad Congress 43% 17.63%
Mumbai South  Worli – Colaba Milind Deora Congress 42.48% 17.42%

Looking at the low voter turnout, my friend Amol made this comment, “Mumbai only cares for stock market turnover, rather than turning out to vote.” Succintly captures the apathy of the citizens. Although the turnout of ~ 51% (meaning only 51 out of 100 registered voters actually turned out to vote) is 10 ppt more than 2009 Loksabha turnout of 41%, it is still abysmally low.

Last post we looked at the phenomenon of vote splitting and how it benefitted one party over the other. It is also a corollary of low voter turnout. High voter turnout would have negated this dynamic by ensuring a candidate doesnt win purely because of this, atleast in constituencies where the margin of victory was 2000 -5000 votes.

In this post we look at another important corollary of low voter turnout. Lesser and lesser representativeness of our democracy. In the above table, columns 5 & 6 are the % of votes gained by the candidates and the effective % votes of total votes. Now, with just ~ 41% average turnout across constituencies, a candidate with as low ~ effective 13% (32.4% of 41%) of total votes won in Mumbai North – East constituency. Thus the MP is actually a choice of ~ 10% of the registered voters in that constituency and not a majority of the eligible voters in the constituency. Wicked stuff. Is this really a representative democracy? No wonder these politicians are so unpopular on say a twitter or facebook or even TV but they actually manage to win because most of this junta doest vote and therefore doesnt count. Politicians discount this audience. This is totally a fault of the voters who didnt turn out to vote.  

Imagine the situation had the turnout been 80%, more voters would have excercised the vote and this skew would have been negated. It would have been more representative, the MP sent to parliament would have genuinely raised issues facing the broad spectrum of the society rather than miniscule 10% – 15%. It would genuinely stop politicians from taking YOU for granted. Assembly elections are due in Maharashtra. There is another chance. 


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