Overwhelmingly tribal Residents of the worst Maoist-hit districts of south Chhattisgarh braved bullets, bombs and intimidation to cast their ballot in record numbers on Monday, in the first phase of polling for 18 of the 90 seats up for grabs in the State Assembly. With provisional turn-out figures from the Election Commission of India putting the voting at over 70 per cent, which follows a similar pattern from the last Assembly election in these areas when 75 per cent polling was recorded, the fact that democracy in India is alive, well and kicking thanks to the poorest and most marginalised of our fellow citizens has been underlined once more.
It should be a matter of great shame that denizens of our metros, on the other hand, who are always the first to vent their grievances imagined or real on social media and have access to the resources of the state in a disproportionate manner, regularly fail to turn up to vote. Indeed, the posher areas of South Delhi and South Mumbai have historically recorded some of the lowest polling percentages in the country in both Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. It is a dangerous development for a country when its most educated, empowered and affluent sections turn their back on the democratic process.