After a sluggish start, polling picked up in Mumbai in the post-lunch session on Thursday, as the city recorded an estimated voter turnout of 52.67%.
The polling percentage was 11% higher than what the city achieved in 2009 (41.42%), but lower than the turnouts in Delhi (64.77%) and Chennai (58.8%) these elections. While Delhi went to polls two weeks ago, balloting was held in Chennai along with Mumbai.
All six constituencies in Mumbai saw 50% or more voters exercising their franchise: Mumbai North (52%), Mumbai North-West (50%), Mumbai North-East (53%), Mumbai North-Central (52%), Mumbai South-Central (55%) and Mumbai South (54%).
The estimated polling percentage in the 19 constituencies in Maharashtra that went to polls in the last round was 55.58%.
Nearly 32 million voters were eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 338 candidates in the fray including Union Minister Milind Deora, sitting MPs Priya Dutt and Sanjay Nirupam of the Congress, social activist Medha Patkar and ministers in the Prithviraj Chavan government Chhagan Bhujbal and Sunil Tatkare.
Five years ago, the 19 seats that went to polls on Thursday saw 44% of the electorate turning up to vote.
The polling percentage could go up marginally after the Election Commission releases the final data on Friday.
Vidya Balan after casting her vote. (ANI Photo)
Nevertheless, the day started on a slow note in India's commercial capital. Till 11am, the voter turnout stood at 15.20%, triggering apprehensions that Mumbai would not be able to cross the 50% mark.
Bollywood celebrities, however, were not short of enthusiasm. Rekha (Rajya Sabha member), Vidya Balan, Sunny Deol and Sonam Kapoor were among the early-morning voters.
Industrialist Anil Ambani, actors Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Suniel Shetty and Rakhi Sawant (a candidate in the fray) were also spotted in the queue.
A host of celebs from India's glamour city, however, were in the US for a film awards ceremony.
Among politicians, the early voters were: candidates Milind Deora and Gurudas Kamat (Congress), Poonam Mahajan, Kirit Somaiya and Gopal Shetty (both BJP) Arvind Sawant and Rahul Shewale (Shiv Sena), Adtiya Shirodkar (MNS) and Meera Sanyal (AAP). Vinod Tawde, the leader of opposition in the legislative council, also exercised his franchise.
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar cast his vote along with wife Anjali around noon at a polling booth near their residence in suburban Bandra.
The sports legend posted a selfie showing his inked finger on Twitter and said, "I have voted..Have U."
Aamir Khan, who voted in suburban Bandra, said, "Voting is an important process in democracy. It is my duty as an Indian to vote."
Aamir Khan after casting his vote in Mumbai (ANI Photo)
Sonam Kapoor said, "It is good to vote for those who make legitimate promises."
Industrialists, celebs, commoners and politicians stood in same queues to vote.
The ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance had put up a spectacular show in 2009, bagging all six seats in the city. While five seats went to the Congress, the NCP had won one.
This time, riding on a projected 'Modi wave', the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena alliance is hopeful of turning the tables on the Congress amid talks of anti-incumbency.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), however, could spoil the BJP's party by eating into the anti-Congress votes.
MNS leader Raj Thackeray has expressed solidarity with BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi, but has also fielded candidates against the Shiv Sena in three constituencies of Mumbai.
The city, however, did not see a direct fight between the BJP and the MNS.
(With agency inputs)