Many Bollywood celebrities came out on Tuesday to cast their vote in elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the civic body responsible for the upkeep for Mumbai. Actor Rekha and filmmaker Zoya Akhtar were among the first Mumbai residents to do so.
Varun Dhawan, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, John Abraham, Shraddha Kapoor and Bhagyashree visited polling stations in their area and voted. Among the older generation, Hema Malini, Neena Gupta and Salim Khan went to cast their vote. Among the non Bollywood celebs was cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and his wife Anjali.
Many stars tweeted and encouraged others to go and vote.
V O T E 👆🏽 pic.twitter.com/TRfhsN8zNq— Ranveer Singh (@RanveerOfficial) February 21, 2017
Done voting. Please exercise your right & go vote! pic.twitter.com/W8RYHcuviM— Shraddha (@ShraddhaKapoor) February 21, 2017
Authorities have been struggling to convince people to participate in the election for Asia’s biggest civic body. Over the years, the voter turnout has been declining steadily.
The presence of movie stars – Mumbai is the heart of Hindi and to a large extent Indian film industry – encourages people to vote. Hashtag #VoteKarMaharashtra was trending in the morning.
In the run-up to the polls, NGOs, the civic body and the state election commission urged people to come out and vote for the 227-ward BMC, the richest civic body in country.
Candidates, too, requested people to shun their indifference. Shiv Sena candidate Durga Shinde from Walkeshwar kicked off #WhatNowVoteNow campaign. “Vote for the candidate of your choice, but do vote,” is her pitch.
BJP candidate Jitendra Ghadigaonkar from ward 115 (Bhandup) also undertook a similar campaign.
While more than 60% of Mumbai’s population is registered as voters, the turnout in BMC elections is dismal. In the 2012, the turnout was only 44%.
With the BJP and the Shiv Sena locked in a furious contest, every vote will count. Unlike the past, all four major parties have chosen to go solo this time.
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