55K voters can now exercise their franchise from their housing society - Hindustan Times
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55K voters can now exercise their franchise from their housing society

May 09, 2024 05:22 AM IST

Condominiums and plotted societies where polling stations will be set up include Heritage City, Vipul Greens, Sare Homes, Sahara Grace, Valley View Apartments, Essel Towers, Vatika City, Sushant Estate, Kendriya Vihar and Jalvayu Towers, among others, which are located along the Golf Course Road, Sohna Road, MG Road, Southern Peripheral Road and Dwarka Expressway

More than 55,000 urban voters in Gurugram, Badshahpur and Sohna will be able to cast their votes from the comfort of their residential societies as the district administration decided to set up 52 polling stations inside condominiums and within the confines of their plotted colonies for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, officials said, citing increasing urban voter turnout as a key aim behind the move.

According to the district administration, Gurugram will have 16 such polling stations for 18,185 voters, Badshahpur will have 35 stations for 37,905 voters and Sohna will have one station for 1,451 voters. (File Photo)
According to the district administration, Gurugram will have 16 such polling stations for 18,185 voters, Badshahpur will have 35 stations for 37,905 voters and Sohna will have one station for 1,451 voters. (File Photo)

According to the district administration, Gurugram will have 16 such polling stations for 18,185 voters, Badshahpur will have 35 stations for 37,905 voters and Sohna will have one station for 1,451 voters.

Condominiums and plotted societies where polling stations will be set up include Heritage City, Vipul Greens, Sare Homes, Sahara Grace, Valley View Apartments, Essel Towers, Vatika City, Sushant Estate, Kendriya Vihar and Jalvayu Towers, among others, which are located along the Golf Course Road, Sohna Road, MG Road, Southern Peripheral Road and Dwarka Expressway.

A government official, requesting anonymity, said that they seek to improve the voter turnout in urban pockets, as it has been historically low due to a multiplicity of issues, including a reluctance to travel long distances.

Gurugram deputy commissioner Nishant Yadav said that the move will make voting easy for residents of condominiums and plotted societies. “These polling stations are very close to where they live and this is likely to significantly improve the voting percentage,” he said.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Gurugram and Badshahpur, which host the majority of urban voters, witnessed the lowest turnouts, at 61.6% and 63.78%, respectively. Political watchers said that the voting percentage among condominium residents was even less as a large number of people who had voted lived in urban villages and colonies.

Gurugram officials have also taken a cue from neighbouring Gautam Budh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh. Noida and Greater Noida managed to improve their voter turnouts by setting up polling booths in private condominiums, according to Maneesh Kumar Verma, the district magistrate and chief election officer of Gautam Budh Nagar, which went to polls on April 26.

“The decision to set up polling stations in condominiums proved successful as average voting in these booths was more than 70%... The reason being that residents came out of their flats and homes, and went straight to the polling booth. There was no need to travel long distances or to nearby villages,” said Verma.

Yadav said that several meetings were held with residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) on the issue in the run-up to the polls.

Apart from setting up polling stations, deputy commissioner Yadav said that they have several initiatives to improve voter turnout. “From pick and drop facilities for old and infirm, assistance at polling station, all facilities will be provided. We have also requested RWA representatives to make sure registered voters do not travel out on polling day since it is a long weekend,” he said.

The decision to set up polling stations in private colonies was taken in March, following requests from RWAs, citing issues of residents being unable to communicate effectively due to most of them being migrants.

Pravin Malik, president of Sare Homes RWA in Sector 92, said that they approached the district administration with the proposal as the majority of residents preferred not to visit villages for voting. “The decision to set up polling stations inside condominiums is good and it will greatly improve the polling percentage and participation among voters in Gurugram. There are around 800 voters at this station. Only glitch is that around 900 voters are still registered at Dhorka polling station, but this anomaly will be corrected in assembly polls,” he said.

Rajat Kumar, a resident of Uniworld Gardens 2 on Sohna Road, emphasised the importance of addressing ongoing issues to ensure the city’s progress and development. “There are countless issues that require immediate attention from our future leaders. It’s essential for us to continuously highlight these concerns to ensure they’re not overlooked. My vote will be for candidates committed to advancing the city’s infrastructure and amenities,” he said.

Gauri Sarin, founder of Making Model Gurugram, a citizens’ initiative, said that with polling booths being set up within societies, voter turnout will improve. She appealed to urban Gurgaonites to exercise their democratic right with responsibility and vigour.

“Their (voters’) voice will only matter if they make their vote count,” said Sarin, after multiple RWAs announced that they would boycott the polls due to civic deficiencies not being fixed in their localities.

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