Laptops to the rescue in western suburbs | india | Hindustan Times
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Laptops to the rescue in western suburbs

Only 47.74 per cent of suburban Mumbai came out to vote. And even some of those might have been lost, had it not been for wired candidates helping them find their polling centres.

india Updated: Oct 14, 2009 01:14 IST
HT Correspondents

Only 47.74 per cent of suburban Mumbai came out to vote. And even some of those might have been lost, had it not been for wired candidates helping them find their polling centres.

With the constituency map redrawn based on the latest (2001) census, many voters were confused about where they were now registered.

While some went to their previous centres, others went to the centres they had been registered at for the Lok Sabha election held earlier this year.

The confusion might have lasted all day had some candidates not foreseen it.

The Shiv Sena and some Independents downloaded electoral rolls onto their laptops in the form of easy-to-search Excel sheets and then stationed themselves outside polling centres.

“We knew people might find it difficult to find their names on the lists in time. This software helped them search their names and polling centres electronically, at the touch of a button,” said Shiv Sena candidate from Goregaon Subhash Desai.

When workers from other parties, and Independents, saw voters flocking to those with laptops, they decided to step up their own game too.

“We saw that people did not want to manually search for their names and polling centres in the physical copies that we were offering,” said Independent candidate from Malad Dolphy D’Souza. “So even too brought out laptops across the constituency.”

For Shivkumar Pande (48) of Yogi Nagar in Borivli West, though, it was a futile search.

“I did not receive my voter slip,” he said. “I have no idea where I am registered this time.”

Pande went to the polling booth he had voted at in the general election, only to be told that he belonged to the Dahisar Assembly constituency.

“It looks like I will have to forfeit my vote,” he said.

Elsewhere, there was the usual crisis of names missing from lists altogether.

Mahesh Dadhia (58) and wife Sheela (57) from Vile Parle East went to their centre armed with their voter ID cards but were not on the rolls.

Across the western suburbs, voting started out slow but picked up gradually towards the evening.

“There have been a lot of young people coming in,” said zonal officer Sanjay Kalabte.

Voting in areas like Kala Nagar, MIG Colony and Government Colony in Bandra East remained low-key, except for a slight when Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray arrived to cast his vote, accompanied by son Uddhav, daughter-in-law Rashmi and grandson Aditya.