Heatwave Threatens Voter Turnout in Uttar Pradesh for Fifth Phase of Lok Sabha Elections

Loksabha 2024 phase 5
Preeti Bali / 9:06 am / May 20, 2024

A singing heatwave could impact elector turnout in Uttar Pradesh, where 14 parliamentary voting public, including Raebareli, Amethi, and Lucknow, are set for surveying on Monday in the fifth period of the Lok Sabha decisions.


Extreme Temperatures in Major Cities


Last week, Kanpur and Agra, two significant cities in Uttar Pradesh, registered some of the highest temperatures in the country. Agra hit a peak of 46.9 degrees Celsius on Thursday, exceeding the usual average by 4.6 degrees, while Kanpur faced similar heat levels on Friday.


IMD Forecasts Severe Heat and Winds


The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that Uttar Pradesh will experience intense surface winds between 25 to 35 km/h and severe heatwave conditions, especially in the eastern and western parts of the state. These harsh weather conditions are anticipated to persist for the next few days, creating a challenging environment for voters in the 14 parliamentary constituencies, which include prominent seats like Raebareli, Amethi, and Lucknow.


Impact on Voter Turnout


Other constituencies set for polling include Mohanlalganj, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Jhansi, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambi, Faizabad, Barabanki, Kaiserganj, and Gonda. The IMD expects the weather in these areas to remain sunny, with temperatures ranging from 43 to 48 degrees Celsius. This relentless heat is likely to discourage many voters from going to polling stations, despite efforts by the State Election Commission to alleviate the heat’s impact by setting up shaded areas and providing drinking water.


Decline in Voter Turnout in Previous Phases


Uttar Pradesh has already experienced a decrease in voter turnout in the earlier phases of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The fourth phase saw an average turnout of 58.09 percent across 13 constituencies, slightly down from the 58.75 percent in the 2019 elections for the same seats. Similarly, the third phase reported a 57.34 percent turnout in 10 constituencies, a 2.58 percent drop from 2019. The second phase, conducted on April 26, showed a 6.71 percent decline in turnout compared to 2019, with a 55.19 percent turnout versus 61.90 percent in the previous election. The first phase on April 19 also saw a decline, with a 61.11 percent turnout compared to 66.37 percent in 2019 for the same constituencies.


Factors Contributing to Declining Turnout


The ongoing trend of reduced voter turnout in the 2024 elections can be attributed to several factors, with extreme weather conditions playing a significant role. As temperatures rise, the willingness and ability of voters to participate in the elections decrease, raising concerns about democratic engagement in these critical elections.


Challenges for the Election Commission


In light of these challenges, the success of the Election Commission’s efforts to ensure voter participation remains uncertain. The severe heatwave poses not just a physical obstacle but also a psychological one, potentially leading to lower voter turnout in the upcoming fifth phase of the elections.


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