Voter apathy is one thing found absent in the former composite Adilabad district during the four elections held in erstwhile united Adilabad district since the December 7, 2018 Assembly election. The polling percentages recorded in that election and the subsequent Panchayat, Parliament and Zilla Parishad Election buttress this point of view.
Though dissolution of the State Assembly took place only on September 6 last year, the mood for early election to State Assembly had set in at least one month before that, given the indicators put out by the State government. The election to Panchayats was held in January, to Parliament in April and Zilla Parishad in May, making it a 10-month-long period during which people sustained the election mood or mode.
“You do not have to look far for the reason for the sustained interest of voters in elections. The entire period was like a long-drawn festival,” opined a political leader who was active in campaigning for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi in all the elections. “Yes, it was nothing short of a festive season what with money flowing like water except in the Lok Sabha poll. Even officials ignored regular developmental activity,” pointed out All India Congress Committee member Naresh Jadhav of Boath Assembly constituency.
“Voters were bribed on an unprecedented higher scale of 2,000 per vote in Assembly election and between 500 and 1,000 in Panchayat and ZP election,” revealed a political worker not wanting to be named. “Voters were bribed even in the MLC election in erstwhile Adilabad,” he added as he tried to show the extent to which money played a role in the election. The average voter turnout in the seven Assembly segments in Adilabad (ST) Lok Sabha seat, Sirpur, Asifabad, Khanapur, Nirmal, Adilabad, Boath and Mudhole, in the December 7 was about 83 per cent which was comparatively higher. The turnout was almost same in the Panchayat election but was lower at 72 per cent in the Parliament election.
Polling percentage picked up in the ZP election with an average of 75 per cent of voters turning out at the polling stations across the seven segments. The average expenditure for a Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency and ZPTC incurred by candidates from main parties or strongly inclined independents even in the poor tribal belt was 2 lakh and 7 lakh respectively, according to political grapevine.