Voting started on a very slow pace in all six constituencies of Mumbai on Monday. Till 11 am in the morning Mumbai North seat registered only 7.85 per cent voting. The overall voter turnout was average and it struggled to cross the 50 per cent mark. Mumbai North West witnessed 50.37 per cent, Mumbai North East 51.59 per cent, Mumbai North Central 47.11 per cent, Mumbai South Central 51.45 per cent and Mumbai South 46.90 per cent voter turnout.
Criminal lawyer and NCP MP Majeed Memon said, “Due to long weekend, we are witnessing low voter turnout in Mumbai. Till now we had appealed to voters that voting is their constitutional right and they should exercise it effectively. However, this time we have informed voters that voting is not only their constitutional right but it is an important national duty. It’s an obligation on citizens and they should not ignore national obligation. This is an important election and citizens should understand its importance.”
Mumbai voted on Monday for 17th Lok Sabha, but Josh was apparently missing. Polling booths were seen less crowded and long queues were not visible. Long weekend and migrant voter’s apathy are key reasons behind this. Many voters with family went out of the city for a picnic. Migrant voters also did not turn out in higher numbers to vote. In 2014, there was a Modi wave in the whole country. It is clearly absent this year.
Senior Advocate Abha Singh said, “Voting percentage has always been low in Mumbai. Colaba had recorded the lowest voting count of 39 per cent all over India. In 2014, the voting percentage had increased to 58 per cent. People have to stand in queue for 30 to 45 minutes and there is no separate queue for women. Many people avoid voting due to mismanagement by polling staff. This time people are confused to whom to vote for. People don’t want to stand in queue just for the sake of pressing the NOTA option. Educated people are not bothered about which government will come to power. Voting should be made compulsory.”
Polling picked up momentum in the noon. The voting figures till 12 o’clock are 19.46 per cent Mumbai (North), 17.64 per cent in Mumbai (North West), 18.39 per cent Mumbai (North East), 16.21 per cent in Mumbai (North Central), 16.80 per cent in Mumbai (South Central) and 15.51 per cent Mumbai (South).
BJP MLA Kumar Iylani said, “Voting percentage is low because many names have been deleted from the voter list. Many people are searching their names in the voter list. More than 25 per cent names from a building have been deleted. Due to summer season, very few people are venturing out to vote. The voting percentage can be increased by rectifying mistakes in the voter list.”
On social media, too, people appeared calm regarding voting and election. While during 2014 Parliamentary election, the social media was full of messages of appeal, advice, and persuasion to vote different parties constituency wise. In 2014 general polls, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter were packed with election messages. That energy was lacking this time. People seemed not interested in politics. Last time common people was expecting a change and Narendra Modi had mobilised them. However, Modi could not fulfill their expectations.
Independent journalist Kanchan Srivastava said, “Voting percentage has always been low in Mumbai. Not only Mumbai, but voting percentage is low in all metropolitan cities. Mumbaikars are not willing to vote. Some people have gone on vacations. Urban voters are not committed as compared to their rural counterparts. Many people feel that Modi government will retain power, so there is no need to vote. Even during last Lok Sabha when there was Modi wave, voting percentage was low in Mumbai. Election Commission, Prime Minister, and celebrities have urged voters to cast their vote. Ajit Ranade has tweeted that the government should provide an incentive to voters who exercise their franchise.”
Though the government has declared holiday on April 29, the rush in local trains was as usual. Means many Mumbaikars did not take leave for voting and gave weightage to bread and butter. Mumbai is the financial capital of India. However, the business community of the city did not come forward to support any party this year. It is said that they are unhappy with many provisions of Goods and Services Tax (GST). At least 40,000 police and security personnel were deployed across the city.
However, prominent political leaders and Bollywood actors-actresses exercised their franchise. NCP president Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray, MNS leader Raj Thackeray and Union Minister Smriti Irani were prominent among the political leaders who voted in Mumbai. Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Urmila Matondkar, Madhuri Dixit Nene and a stream of other Bollywood celebrities voted here and urged others to step out and make their vote count. BJP MP Poonam Mahajan, Congress nominee Urmila Matondkar, industrialist Anil Ambani and actress Rekha were among the early voters in Mumbai.
Across 72 constituencies in nine states, more than 12 crore voters were supposed to exercise their franchise on Monday. Voters decided the fate of total of 945 candidates. Over 1.40 lakh polling booths had been set up for the same. Elections were held in 17 seats of Maharashtra, five seats in Bihar, one in Jammu and Kashmir, three in Jharkhand, six in Madhya Pradesh, six in Odisha, 13 in Rajasthan, 13 in Uttar Pradesh and eight in West Bengal. Counting of the votes will take place on May 23.