Mumbai stepped out to vote on Tuesday, breaking a 25-year record, with a polling percentage of 55. Here are five things that the city’s high voter turnout in the civic polls tells us :
1. The poll battle between the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to control the country’s richest civic body polarised the city. Both the parties spurred their voters to come out and vote.Other parties including the official opposition party, Congress, are likely to have been marginalised in the contest.
2. The spike in voting percentage was across the city, but areas and residents traditionally seen as politically apathetic also turned a corner. This included middle class suburbs of Borivili, Matunga, Mulund, besides tony South Mumbai areas known for poor turnout like Malabar Hill. The Marathi heartland of Parel, Worli, Dadar, Mahim also saw a spike in votes.
3. In absolute numbers, the high voter turnout in Mumbai is miniscule, even though the polling percentage increased by 10.53% from 2012 polls. This is because the electoral rolls went through a clean-up process (erasing of duplicate and bogus voters etc) with the number of registered voters coming down from 1.09 crore to 91.80 lakh. The polling percentage in 2012 was around 45 per cent (44.75%), so around 49 lakh voters cast their votes; in 2017 the polling percentage is 55.28%, so around 50.49 lakh voters cast their votes.
4. The high voter turn out is traditionally seen as vote for change and on the face of it may favour the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). However, as this is also the first time the BJP has contested as many seats ( so far it contested only 65 seats) in the city, it’s the first time the party’s core voter base that might not otherwise step out to vote in civic polls stepped out. This spike may not reflect is a big way in the tally.
5. While the vote hike in absolute numbers is more or less the same as in 2012 and it being a multi-party contest for the first time with both major alliances contesting separately, it could also mean that all parties mobilised their voters.
This includes the Sena, BJP and Congress, NCP besides Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Samajawadi Party and the new entrant All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul (AIMIM).
Read more: AIMIM now eyes Mumbai, Thane