Mumbaikars stay away from polling booths as the city witnesses low voter turnout.
Even though the Election Commission had taken several steps to create awareness among Mumbaikars to come forward and vote but the city witnessed only 47 per cent turnout. On the other hand, Maharashtra saw 59 per cent turnout. The EC had conducted polls in the middle of the week in order to increase voting percentage but this initiative failed to yield the desired results. Last time, voters had gone on a trip resulting into a sharp fall in the voting percentage. On one hand, celebrities exercised their franchise but many Mumbaikars chose to abstain from voting. Suburban Mumbai too witnessed 47 per cent turnout while Thane fared poorly at 40 per cent. Violence marred the electoral process in several parts of the state.
Voting, which was brisk and moderate throughout the day, picked up later in the afternoon and election officials expected a satisfactory turnout till the close of poll at 1800 hrs. As many as 519 candidates were in the fray for 36 constituencies in the country’s financial capital. In 2009 assembly elections, Mumbai had recorded a turnout of 46.1 per cent, while 48.4 per cent in 2004 and 44.9 per cent in 1999.
Our reporters visited several polling stations to know about the voter’s opinion about the assembly polls. Here is what they had to say
Dillip Kaur, a 52 year old house wife from Samta Nagar, Kandivali (E) said, “The Election Commission had done a good task by conducting the polling smoothly. However, a pick up and drop facility must be started for senior citizens so that they can vote without facing any hardships.”
Dilip Parekh, a 70 year old retired personnel from Samata Nagar, Kandivali (E), said, “The polling booth staff were cooperative but I am yet to receive my voter id card. Therefore, I had to carry aadhar card as proof of identity.”
Ramani Pujary, a 60 year old housewife from Dahisar said, “I have been voting for the past 30 years but I have not faced any inconvenience.”
Yogita Naik, a 26 year old college student from Kandivali said, “I am casting my vote for the first time all the staff members were very cooperative.”
Isabe Qureshi, a 75 year old housewife from Borivali said, “I have been exercising my franchise for the past 35 years. But now I have become old so there should be pick up and drop facility for senior citizens.”
Rehanna Qureshi, a 35 year old housewife from Borivali said, “There was some queue in the polling booth as I had to stand for half an hour to cast my vote.”
Shiv Sena MLA Vinod Ghosalkar said, “I am confident that BJP will come to power. I have undertaken several developmental work and people have immense faith in me. They will vote for me.”
Ashok Sawant, Samata Nagar said, “My party will win the election. We have done good work till date.”
Shiv Sena activists said that they were closely watching the voter turn out. “After seeing the poor voter turnout till 2 pm, we had asked our cadre, who have been charge of specific buildings, to go door to door to ensure all people come and vote,” said a Sena activist from Kandivali.
The city is witnessing a five-cornered contest with Shiv Sena, BJP, Congress, NCP and MNS fighting independently. Prominent among the candidates in Mumbai include former ministers Suresh Shetty from Andheri East, Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan in Chandivali, and Varsha Gaikwad in Dharavi. Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar in Bandra West and Leader of Opposition in the State Legislative Council Vinod Tawde in Borivali.
By Maya Gohil