EC’s plans a ‘special’ move to tackle voter apathy in urban areas

"It’s unfortunate if people are availing leave but not casting their vote. No one would like to get named for not voting," a senior EC official said.

Bypolls in seven seats of six states
Bypolls will be held in Adampur of Haryana, Munugode of Telangana, Mokama and Gopalganj seats of Bihar, Andheri (East) of Maharashtra, Gola Gorakhnath of Uttar Pradesh and Dhamnagar of Odisha

The Election Commission of India (EC) is planning to tackle voter apathy in urban areas by asking PSUs, government departments, and private companies to track those employees who avail leave on the polling day and don’t exercise their franchise, according to a report.

Those who don’t vote will be identified and sent for a ‘special’ workshop conducted by the EC.

Also read: ‘Values not in consonance’: Election Commission’s counsel in Supreme Court resigns

The EC is set to write to all Union and state government departments, central and state PSUs, and private companies with over 500 employees to monitor how many employees avail special casual leave on voting day but don’t vote, an Indian Express report said on Thursday (June 9).


Despite creating awareness, vote apathy is high in urban areas, as per the EC data, the report said and added that in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, 67.40% of the registered voters cast their vote.

Constituencies like Dhubri (Assam), Bishnupur (West Bengal) and Arunachal East recorded the highest turnout with 90.66%, 87.34% and 87.03 %, respectively. In contrast, urban seats such as Srinagar (14.43%), Anantnag (8.98%), Hyderabad (44.84%), Patna Sahib (45.80%) recorded lower turnout, it said.

Also read: Will Muslims take over Hindus in population? Former election commissioner busts ‘myth’

To make sure that the voter percentage in urban areas increases, the EC, through its local district election officers, will ask government departments, PSUs and private companies to appoint nodal officers who will keep tabs on employees who skip voting, it added.

“We would then urge the employer to send employees who skipped voting for special voter awareness workshops organised by the EC. The aim is to tackle voter apathy, especially in urban areas,” a senior EC official who did not want to be identified, told the newspaper.

“It’s unfortunate if people are availing leave but not casting their vote. No one would like to get named for not voting. We hope the act of being identified and sent for a workshop after being found to have skipped voting will discourage apathy,” the official added.

Further, he stated, “Additionally, we have also directed all district election officers/ returning officers to identify at least five lowest voter turnout booths in each Assembly constituency. They will visit these booths to identify factors for low voting turnout and make targeted interventions to mitigate the factors hampering the voting process.”

According to The Representation of the People Act, 1951, amended in August 1996, a new Section 135B was added to the Act. As per this, “Every person employed in any business trade, Industrial undertaking or any other establishment and entitled to vote at election to the House of the People (Parliament) or the Legislative Assembly of a State shall, on the day of poll, be granted a holiday.”