The Telegraph
Wednesday , June 18 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Football fever beats polls at city addas

Ranchiites, who spent hours at roadside tea-stalls discussing Lok Sabha polls a couple months ago, are apparently giving a cold shoulder to the upcoming mayoral polls, slated on June 23.

On Sunday morning, when BJP-backed mayoral candidate Asha Lakra met morning walkers on Morabadi grounds, one would have expected people to talk about polls at the tea stall near Suchna Bhawan.

However, discussion over steaming cups was more about the prospects of Brazil and Argentina in the ongoing football world cup.

Similarly, as mayor hopeful Gagan Kachchap visited business and residential areas around Bada Talab on Monday, people heard him out but did not discuss his poll prospects among themselves. Rather, they were more interested about negotiating potholed capital roads after this afternoon downpour.

Devesh Kumar, an advocate and resident of Old Commissioner’s Compound, said the cash-for-vote controversy that came to light during mayoral elections in 2013 had caused people to cool off.

“Last year, people were enthusiastic about the municipal polls. But, recovery of money a day before the election caused resentment. Also, this year people witnessed Lok Sabha polls, so there is little craze about civic polls,” he said.

However, Manikant Kumar, a campus ambassador from Marwari College (boys) who worked to boost voter awareness ahead of Lok Sabha election, said the lack of political discussion should not be interpreted as indifference.

“People are well-aware and will vote. I think mayoral polls are not the talking point as they are being fought for one post. Also, municipal elections have little to do with national politics,” he said.

Asian Development Research Institute, which gauged the lukewarm public response when nobody turned up for pre-poll rectification of names and addresses, has decided to start a voter awareness campaign from Wednesday.