Less than a year after a group of terrorists held the city to ransom for four days, south Mumbai maintained its disinterested approach to the political process, recording a lower turnout than the suburbs, at 42 per cent.
Tony Colaba saw the lowest turnout in the city, at 35.15 per cent. “The response from Mahim and Sion-Koliwada, which has more of a middle-class population, has been good,” said District Collector I.S. Kundan. “The polling percentage in Dharavi has improved tremendously.”
The turnout has even dropped considerably here since the last state election, when south Mumbai registered a 47 per cent turnout; the recent Lok Sabha election, though, drew just 40 per cent of registered voters.
Sutar Chawl resident Tauferbhai Rangwala (78) blamed this on the politicians.
“Once leaders are elected, they do nothing but fill their pockets,” said Rangwala. “Why would anyone bother to vote?”
There was a lukewarm response in Muslim-dominated Mumbadevi, which saw a 37 per cent turnout. “My friends and I do not even have our names registered,” said Saeed Raza (21).
Ashwin Shah (67), who has been voting from Mahim constituency for 30 years, said nothing much has changed. “The politics is the same — the cause of the Marathi manoos. Only the faces have changed,” said Shah.
Meanwhile, a large number of voters from Pratiksha Nagar, Sion, turned up the polling booth meant for voters from the Dharavi constituency.
Hundreds of helpdesks across the constituency tried to make the task of locating booths easier for voters, but some still didn’t make it.
“We didn’t know that Pratiksha Nagar is now part of the Sion-Koliwada constituency,” said Shabad Sheikh (45) who went home without with his family of three without voting.
A large number of senior citizens turned up to have their fingers inked.
“I have faith that my vote can bring in change,” said a cheery Ujwala Rajpurkar (72), who was leaving her house for the first time in six months.