Polling started at ten municipal corporations in Maharashtra, including the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), at 7.30am on Tuesday. The voting will continue till 5.30pm.
A total of 9,208 candidates are in the fray for 1,268 seats across the ten municipal corporations. For the BMC, 2,275 candidates are vying for the 227 councillor wards, as per information from the State Election Commission (SEC). The votes will be counted on February 23.
An election officer with the BMC said, “Polling commenced at 7:30 am peacefully. A mock poll was done on all machines at 6.30 am. The data was cleared before commencement of polling.”
There are 91.8 lakh registered voters in Mumbai who will vote across the 7,297 voting booths in the city. The turnout has, however, been consistently tepid. In 2012, less than 45% of Mumbai’s registered voters took note of the BMC elections. In 2007, this figure was 46% and in 2002 it was an even more abysmal 42%.
With the splitting of traditional alliances of the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Mumbai civic polls have become a multi-cornered contest this time. While the Congress and NCP have joined hands for the elections of a few other civic bodies besides Mumbai, the Sena and BJP are contesting all polls independently.
In Mumbai, the allies-turned-rivals are in direct competition with each other with the city being the Sena’s home turf where the BJP wants to aggressively expand, eyeing the same vote-bank as the Shiv Sena’s.
Besides the ten civic bodies, polling also commenced across 11 zilla parishads and 118 panchayat samitis in the second phase. Fifteen zilla parishads and 165 panchayat samitis went to polls in the first phase on February 16.