Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar's plans to catch Bengaluru's voters midweek with his choice of a Wednesday (May 10) as polling day may seem like a well-thought-out plan. But going by responses of urban voters, they'd rather spend the day doing activities they like instead of voting, no matter which day of the week polling falls on.
Earlier on Wednesday, CEC Kumar said, "we have kept the polling date on Wednesday, as people take leave on Monday or Friday if polls are held close to weekly offs. Taking two days off would be difficult on a Wednesday.”
Bengaluru's residents tend to head out of the city on weekends. For one, even with new pubs and cafes popping up at every corner every day, the city is a nightmare to navigate. But with the new Bengaluru-Mysuru expressway, a drive to the city of palaces and back has become a smooth option for many, particularly biking enthusiasts.
Reports suggest that Bengaluru's fast-growing sectors including IT, biotechnology and business process outsourcing, is enabling it to invite several high-net-worth individuals to relocate here. The city is also conveniently located near many hill stations – Skandagiri, Coorg, Wayanad, Chikkamagaluru, and Sakleshpur. All are within a half-day drive and are some of the favourites among its residents.
Kavery M, mother of two and a biking enthusiast, said she takes off on her Harley Davidson on weekends to someplace nearby, including her hometown in Coorg. Although she admitted that going mid-week would be tough because she has two boys to take care of, she said whether she votes or not would depend on how she felt that day.
“I don’t think keeping it (polling) on Wednesday is going to change anything. People choose to vote – or not to – for various reasons," she said. "In any case, Bengaluru is a city with a floating population and most of these youngsters who take off on weekends may not necessarily have voting rights here."
Prakash Rao, a 65-year-old architect who moved to the city in 1995, also felt that the issue was not about the day when polling is being held. “If you are serious about voting, you will vote, no matter what.”
For Florence, whose life revolves around her dog Tyson, the many pet-friendly homestays near Bengaluru are a blessing. Whenever she gets time, she prefers to go there, she said. “Wednesday or Monday does not really matter. I can always find a place with a nice garden nearby too and we can go on a day trip. Or I might simply hang out at home with him. I do not want to vote because I am fed up with politicians,” she added.
Nishita Kumar, a technical writer, stays mostly in Bengaluru even on weekends. But she said she would rather spend time with her children exploring Bengaluru’s newest offerings and blogging about them than stand in queue and vote.
“It is sort of pointless these days to vote. Even if I do, I might have to choose NOTA (none of the above), so I might as well enjoy the day,” she said.