Free cab rides, discounts at restaurants and free dessert — casting your vote on February 21 could be a sweet deal, as the state election commission, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, NGOs and college students leave no stone unturned to get you to vote.
The student-run Vote for Mumbai campaign, for instance, has partnered with cab-service provider Ola to give voters free rides from polling booths. “Give a missed call on 8733087330, then go and vote. Your ride back from the polling booth will be free. We are doing this to encourage first-time voters,” said Lishu Singhvi, a third-year student and Vote for Mumbai member. The civic body too has tied-up with Uber to give voters a Rs75 discount on rides to and from polling stations.
Joining the effort, the Association of Hotel and Restaurants (AHAR) has asked its members to run offers on Tuesday — discounts and free desserts for patrons who have voted.
Some city restaurants are promising up to 15% off, while hotel associations in the Lonavala-Khandala belt will give a 20% discount. “We are doing this to increase Mumbai’s voter turnout,” said Niranjan Shetty from AHAR, which has 8,500 Mumbai restaurants as members.
On Saturday, the ward office at R/South ward (Kandivli), started sending invitations to homes. Designed like wedding invites, the cards request citizens to cast their vote.
While more than 60% of Mumbai’s people are registered voters, the turnout during elections has always been poor. In the 2012 civic elections, just 44% turned up to vote.
NGO Operation Black Dot (OBD), which has been working with the election commission, has released a guidebook on “what, how and why” of elections. The book has a section on where voters can find their polling booths.
Citizens can log onto operationblackdot.in/voter-list-search/ to find it. The NGO has also released a film asking people to vote.