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Less than 50% vote

mumbai Updated: Nov 01, 2010 02:30 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
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Voting for the Kalyan-Dombivli municipal elections, which saw dramatic political campaigning throughout the week, was peaceful on Sunday with a moderate voter turnout of 46.84%.

A few incidents of clashes between rival groups and incidents of bogus voting were reported.

“It was a peaceful election,” said Ramnath Sonawane, commissioner, Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC).

He said the voting percentage in these civic polls was higher that then 43% turnout witnessed in the 2009 Assembly polls.

Sonawane said residents of places like Balyani, Moiely, Ambivali, which had been boycotting elections for the last 25 years, voted this time.

The morning saw a low turnout, which increased after noon with a few places witnessing serpentine queues.

Residents said the turnout would have been higher but the timing of the polls was a spoiler.

“People had gone shopping for Diwali and many had left for vacations because exams ended on Saturday,” said Priyanka Gavande, who managed to vote just before polling booths closed.

The police had barred senior political leaders from entering the twin cities on Saturday and had turned the place into a fortress.

There were incidents of clashes between the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers in Beturkarpada in Kalyan.

Four cases of bogus voting were registered.

Vikhroli resident Sudam Dasaiya was caught allegedly casting a bogus vote in Kopar at Dombivli.

Sena candidate Ramesh Mhatre found that some unidentified people had damaged his vehicle.

Political parties also expressed confidence of bagging power.

“There was apathy across the place but we feel that a higher voting percentage than last year’s Assembly polls will benefit us,” said Manoj Chavan, MNS leader.

Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Sanjay Kelkar, who supervised the party’s campaign, said: “Our cadre strength ensured the presence of our voters at polling booths.”

Everyone was watching these civic polls because of the bitter verbal duel the Thackeray cousins, Uddhav and Raj, indulged in during canvassing.

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray was also dragged into this mud-slinging for the first time.

The counting of votes will take place on Monday at Dombivli Sports Complex.

Results of 56 constituencies will be declared in the first phase by noon while counting for the remaining 51 seats will be taken up in the second phase.