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Will Mumbai voters buck turnout trend?

india Updated: Apr 18, 2014 10:43 IST
Kunal Purohit
lok sabha elections

Delhi has done it. Even the rest of Maharashtra has done it. So, will Mumbai’s voters follow suit and turn out in large numbers on April 24?

Or will most of them remain true to form and stay home? As they did in even 2009 when public anger was widespread over the terror strikes just a few months earlier in December 2008.

It’s not just the NGOs and political parties campaigning to get more people to vote, several commercial establishments and even hospitals across Mumbai are offering discounts and deals to those who do.

For instance, the popular Hard Rock Cafe is offering to host young voters under 25 for free on April 25 if they show up with their fingers inked.

Across India, the turnout has been significantly higher this time.

For example, in the 2009 general elections, nearly half the Delhi electorate chose to skip voting while Mumbai saw an even more dismal 43.5% of voters turning up. This time, however, the turnout in Delhi rose by nearly 13 percentage points to 65.09%.

Even South Delhi constituency which, like Mumbai South, is home to the city’s elite and traditionally indifferent to elections, saw a massive rise from 47% last time to 63% this time.

The 29 constituencies that have gone to the polls so far in Maharashtra — which has 48 seats —too have registered a more than 10 percentage point rise in the turnout.

But hardly anyone is willing to bet on most of Mumbai coming out to vote on April 24. “If such mass protests as those after 26/11 couldn’t get Mumbai citizens out to vote, what will?” says Sharad Kumar, Association for Democratic Reforms state convenor.