Fate of city's governance in hands of 1.02 crore voters
Latest figures released by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) show that the total number of registered voters in the city has touched 1.02 crore, an increase of 19 lakh from the last civic polls.mumbai Updated: Jan 24, 2012 01:16 IST
More than one crore voters have the power to decide the fate of the city's governance, in the upcoming civic elections on February 16.
Latest figures released by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) show that the total number of registered voters in the city has touched 1.02 crore, an increase of 19 lakh from the last civic polls.
It remains to be seen, however, if this will also result in an increase in voting percentage, an area in which the city has fared quite poorly.
In the 2007 elections, the voter turnout registered was an abysmal 46% of th 83 lakh registered voters.
For the February 16 polls, however, the state election commission and the civic body are determined to reverse the trend and have pulled out all stops to draw people to polling booths.
The decision to hold the polls on a Thursday, instead of the usual practice of hosting them on a Sunday, was one such move.
Following SEC guidelines, the civic body has also tried to ensure that most polling booths are installed at ground level, to make them accessible for the elderly and the differently abled.
"In the 2007 civic elections, there were 1,666 polling booths on the first floor and above, not connected by elevators. This year, there are only 28 polling booths above ground level which are not connected by elevators," said municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar.
The BMC has also tried to divide polling booths equally across the city and will provide one poll booth per 1,200 to 1,400 voters. 11,000 electronic voting machines in all will be used during the elections.
The SEC and the civic body also tried to lure voters by proposing to have polling booths installed in housing societies with more than 1,000 residents, meant exclusively for society members.
However, the scheme has not received the expected response with only 28 of the 150 housing societies approached agreeing to the idea.
The cost of conducting elections has also seen a rise this year, and the civic body will spend around Rs35 for every voter. Compared to the cost of Rs22 crore in 2007, this year, the BMC is set to spend nearly Rs35 crore.