The voting pattern in Mumbai for the assembly elections held on Wednesday could spell trouble for the sitting Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislators. While 33 of the 36 the constituencies in the city saw a hike in voter turnout — ranging from 1 to 9% when compared with the last polls — only five constituencies recorded more than a 10% hike — Dharavi, Wadala, Byculla, Colaba and Kandivli (East) — all with Congress legislators.
The overall voter turnout in the city was 50.90%, up from 45.58% in 2009. The Congress and NCP have sitting legislators in 20 of the 36 constituencies.
The three constituencies which recorded a low voter turnout when compared with the 2009 polls were Magathane, Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar and Versova, of which the first two are represented by the MNS and Samajwadi Party and the last one by the Congress.
According to analysts, various factors, such as anti-incumbency, the ‘Modi magic’ as well as the marginalisation of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), may have impacted the voter turnout.
Political analyst B Venkatesh Kumar said the trend could be attributed to the fact that more youth came out to vote. “We saw more people coming out to exercise their franchise and it could well be an indication of change,” said Kumar. Surendra Jondhale, professor, Political Science, University of Mumbai, also predicts an advantage for the Sena and BJP. “While the Sena succeeded in defending its core constituency, the BJP really worked hard for its success,” said Jondhale.
In the 2009 elections, the MNS spoilt the chances for both the Sena and BJP candidates, indirectly helping the Congress-NCP combine, which was not the case in this year’s polls. “The MNS has lost an opportunity because they could not convert the 2009 mandate into reality. There was low enthusiasm among its workers,” said Kumar.