Though slum pockets across the city reported a high voter turnout, residents of Mumbai’s largest slum chose to stay away from polling booths. The turnout across Dharavi’s six electoral wards was 43.41%.
Local politicians attributed this to people’s disillusionment with the system. “Citizens feel that all politicians are useless, and hence didn’t go to vote,” said Raju Korde, an independent candidate contesting the civic polls. All the six electoral wards in the area are currently held by the Congress. Mahendra Shinde, a local corporator from the party, conceded that voters were less than enthusiastic about the civic polls.
Dharavi was marked for redevelopment by the Congress-NCP-led state government, which promised to turn the slum into an urban township through a massive Rs15,000-crore makeover. However, the project has been mired in red-tape. Residents complain that during each election, politicians have milked the electorate with a promise of bigger homes and better civic amenities, but haven’t delivered much.
"For so many years, they promised us new houses through redevelopment. But nothing has been done,” rued 25-year-old Shentil Raman. On Thursday, Raman went to work as usual, without casting his vote. The Dharavi resident complained that the unfulfilled promises meant he was unable to marry as he lived in 10X10 hutment with five other members of his family.
With past election promises washed down the drain, Pramila Mane who lives off 90-feet-road questions the very logic of voting. “The gutter at the back of my houses is flooded round the year, and the corporator does not care at all,” she said.