Elections 2019: Bengaluru voter turnout falls below 50 pc despite startups encouraging people to vote
Companies like Ola, Swiggy, Flipkart made their contributions by encouraging voters to step out of their home to cast their vote in the 17th General Elections.Thimmaya Poojary
The 2019 General Elections is witnessing a high decibel contest among political parties. And Indian startups and unicorns have made their pitch to get the citizens to go out and vote.
According to information provided by the Karnataka Election Commission, the polling percentage at 1 pm for constituencies going to polls in Karnataka on Thursday was 36.31 percent while the urban areas of Bengaluru were trailing on average of 30 percent.
While still low, this is more than the expected as voting day here came as part of the long weekend, and there was a fear that many would take off on a holiday.
The State government declared a holiday to enable more of the working class to cast their votes but it remains to be seen what the voting percentage would be by the end of the day, especially in Bengaluru.
However, best efforts were put in by companies like Flipkart, Swiggy, Ola, and Uber to pitch their contribution to the all-important election. For example, Flipkart organised voter registration camps for employees as well as families. This was meant not just for first time voters, but also for those seeking to shift their registration to a different constituency.
On the other hand, Swiggy came out with an innovative campaign called #VoteKaroPhirSwiggyKaro, which saw a few displaying their inked finger on Twitter. The food delivery unicorn also extended this on the similar lines to the delivery staff where it rolled out Swiggy Smiles reward points for casting their votes.
Cab aggregator Ola partnered with the office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka and Mangalore Zilla Panchayat, The Bengaluru District Electoral Officer and the Commissioner of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and The District Electoral Officer and Commissioner of Mysore Corporation to provide free rides to Persons with Disabilities (PWD).
As a part of this free service, Ola assigned 270 cabs to the election commission, which will be made available to ferry PWD voters to polling booths. This facility is available in Bengaluru, Mysuru, and Mangaluru on April 18, 2019, and Ballari, Hubali-Dharwad, Gulbarga and Belgaum on April 23.
Flipkart also came out with a video campaign to emphasise upon the importance of voting, and how Election Day is the only day when there’s no difference between any individual because everyone has an equal vote.
According to Apurva Sethi (Director Brand Marketing at Flipkart),
“At Flipkart, we are always motivated to create impactful conversations that are socially relevant. While we have supported causes related to gender equality in the past, this year, we wanted to weave in a new narrative of equality that lies within the democracy of the country. With this campaign, we felt the need to establish a connect with our consumers and inspire them to view elections as a sacred time of coming together despite our differences.”
Although voters did not come out in droves, especially in Bengaluru, some of the city’s leading corporate personalities like N R Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw did exercise their franchise.
The polling percentage at least till noon has not been very encouraging but hopes are that the final tally will be more positive. Swiggy’s ad campaign included a menu card of the “Nation’s needs” like affordable housing for all, ending red tapes, increased job opportunities, loan waivers, zero criminals for politicians, and the crackdown on black money, among others.
As one clicks on an option, a message pops up:
“Sorry we are not there yet. Unfortunately, there are some things you can't get delivered home. So this general election, step out and vote."
Update: At 5 pm, where the overall voting percentage for Karnataka was at 61.94 percent, Bengaluru only witnessed a 47.63 percent voter turnout. The city did not even cross the half-way mark.