Political parties and analysts attributed the low voter turnout (average 44.15%) in Mumbai and Thane to factors such as timing of the poll, soaring heat, negative campaigns that impacted the common citizen’s morale and dearth of political awareness among the educated electorate.
Psephologist Uday Nirgudkar said apart from heat, the impetus that would make people come out and vote was missing in the polls.
“People are disillusioned with governance. The new breed of politicians who have limited themselves to organizing social, cultural and religious festivals are also to be blamed for breaching the people’s confidence in democracy.” He said mudslinging by candidates also disillusioned the voters.
The politicians are a worried lot. The low turnout is likely to have an impact on their and their party’s showing.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said it was time for making voting compulsory. “The 50% percent people in highly educated cities like Mumbai and Thane, who did not vote today, have no right whatsoever to speak against any government,” he said. “One cannot afford to be hopeless in a democratic set up.”
Samajwadi Party general secretary Sanjay Dutt did not approve of constitutional compulsion. “We, the political parties and social organizations should continue to create public awareness. It will take some time but I’m sure things will fall in place.”
Nitin Sardesai, official spokesperson of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena said his party was happy to see a lot of city youth using their right to vote. “It’s a good sign for a party like us.”