It was slow voting till 3 PM. However, after 3 PM people finally got out and voted in the city. The city registered a turnout of 53 per cent, 12 per cent higher than 2009. But as compared to other cities, it is still very low.
Till 3 in the afternoon, less than 35 per cent voters in Maximum City had reached polling booths to vote in the general election. But the polling percentage improved as evening approached.
More than close battles being fought, voting in Mumbai is being watched to see if India’s financial and entertainment capital has improved from its dismal voting figure of 41.5 per cent in 2009.
However, Modi’s ‘lehar’ was also not seen in the maximum city. Even in Gujarati dominated areas, there was poor turnout. Borivali, Malabar Hill and many booths in Mumbai South constituency had seen very less number of voters.
A large turnout of Muslim voters was seen in minority-dominated pockets of Mumbai in Borivli, Kandivli, Malad, Jogeshwari, Andheri, Santacruz, Bandra, Mahim, Mumbai Central, Mazagaon, Kurla, Mankhurd, Byculla, Nagpada and Colaba.
Many Mumbaikars were apprehensive of their names being ‘missing’ from electoral rolls. But top businessman Deepak Parekh had least expected he would be part of that list.
A visibly irritated Parekh said that when he learnt of the faux pas, he tried his level best to cast his vote; he carried his passport and other documents, but to no avail.
Bollywood actors Bharat Dabholkar and Atul Kulkarni also discovered they were ‘missing’ from the electoral rolls and could not vote.
However, Zila Khan (36), who owns a business of garments, was not lucky as he could not cast his vote. The reason is his name was missing from the voters’ list. ”I waited for two hours with a hope that I will vote. Some government employees and party volunteers asked me to come with two photographs as an identity proof. However, it was not enough as they told me to register myself. I am quite disappointed,” he said.
Moreover, for three sisters Saba, Simran and Shabana Sheikh from the north central constituency, it was a great moment as they were for the first time exercising their votes. As their brother brought them in an auto-rikshaw in front of the municipal school, they took out their identity proofs and were ready to go and vote.
”We had taken every precaution to ensure that our names are there in the voting list. We have cast our votes for the empowerment of women and their better future in particular,” Saba told AV. Her sister Shabana added that she is worried about her career and not keen to play in the hands of political parties.
Meanwhile, Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar flew down from Dubai to cast his vote along with wife Anjali.
However, when voting ended, Mumbai North-Central and Mumbai South-Central had seen the highest turnout of 55 per cent. Around 54 per cent casted their vote in Mumbai South, Union minister Milind Deora’s constituency.
The most keenly watched battle is being fought in the 6 Lok Sabha seats of Mumbai. Milind Deora, Gurudas Kamath, Priya Dutt and Sanjay Nirupam of the Congress are seeking re-election from Mumbai city. Banker turned AAP leader Meera Sanyal and activist Medha Patkar are also contesting from Mumbai.
Priya Dutt is contesting against the late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan’s daughter Poonam Mahajan.
Incidentally, youths and elderly residents of the Ramabai Colony were impressed by the AAP activists who had come with swanky laptops, tabs and Ipads to help them in finding out their names in the voters’ list.
In the Marathi manoos dominated south central Mumbai, voters from the multi storey buildings and those residing in Dharavi were lined up to vote. But it was a great disappointment for 70-year plus RS Ketkar who found his name was missing. He was fuming but could not do anything. ”Whom should I blame? I have been born and brought up in Mahim-Dadar area and am voting regularly. During the revision of voters’ list too I had registered myself. All political parties should take up this matter quite seriously as it is not good for democracy,” he opined.
In 2009, the Congress and NCP swept the city winning all six Mumbai seats. This time, opinion polls give the BJP and its partner Shiv Sena the advantage.
The Aam Aadmi Party has added a twist in the tale, fielding candidates like former banker Meera Sanyal and social activist Medha Patkar.
Celebs also cast their franchise
Famous Mumbaikars like Sachin Tendulkar, Aamir Khan and Anil Ambani voted early and urged people to vote too. Actor Vidya Balan said, “Tomorrow if I point a finger at some, there should be this voting mark on my finger.”
The Bachchans, who do everything together, cast their votes en famille – Amitabh, Jaya, Abhishek and Aishwarya, actors all. The Bachchans and filmmaker Rakesh Roshan were among the later voters of the day.
Also voting at the close was Shah Rukh Khan who cleared his calendar for voting day well in advance. SRK said earlier in the day: “Most of the time I don’t even get to choose the channel I want to watch on tv. Today I have an opportunity to choose my country’s future. Awesome!.”
Celebrities voting included Aamir Khan who has been actively encouraging voter’s to exercise their franchise. On the second season of his TV show Satyamev Jayate, Aamir devoted an episode to the electoral process, asking voters to make informed choices and to keep corrupt candidates out. At the polling station, Aamir said, “Elections are an important process of democracy. I hope many people come out and vote.”Aamir’s wife Kiran Rao also voted.
But many more from Bollywood were missing as they were away in the US for an award ceremony. That included actors like Anil Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Shahid Kapur, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Also former MPs Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar, though son Farhan Akhtar stayed back to vote. Farhan Akhtar later tweeted: Go Mumbai Let’s see more inked fingers this time. More than ever before.
Lyricist Prasoon Joshi hit out sharply at colleagues who chose to attend the award ceremony over voting. “The nation takes precedence over everything else. I’m going for IIFA too but only after voting… can’t just do armchair criticism, many in Bollywood aren’t responsible,” he said.