The two major alliances pitted against each other reacted very differently to the low voter turnout in Mumbai. While the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party combine feels it means a verdict in their favour, the 44-45% turnout has put the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance on tenterhooks.
The city’s average polling percentage is fixed approximately at 44-45%, marginally lower than the 2007 turnout.
“I strongly feel that Thursday’s turnout is an indication that the Sena-BJP alliance will come back to power in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC),” Vinod Tawde, BJP’s Opposition leader in the Legislative Council told Hindustan Times.
The results to the 227-seat civic body will be declared on Friday.
The Congress-NCP alliance, which has gone all out in its bid to oust the saffron combine, said it would be premature to say that they are out of the race, though many leaders in the combine said that a better voter turnout would have helped them in gaining an advantage over the ruling alliance in the BMC.
Congress general secretary Sanjay Dutt said the alliance would be able to make predictions only after studying polling patterns in each of the 227 wards.
“There will always be a possibility of us getting the benefit of anti-incumbency in many wards that have polled higher than the average,” he said.
Political analyst Surendra Jondhale said low voting would mean a fractured mandate and a free run for Independents, rebels and smaller parties.
“It’s a dismal political scenario. Independents and rebels may rule the roost this time,” he said, blaming all the political parties for disappointing Mumbaiites by not pushing ahead the agenda of the city’s development.
Leaders of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) were in good spirits. Vagish Saraswat, the party’s vice-president, said the MNS had its own voters.
“Ours are new voters and they came out to vote for us. It will benefit us a lot,” he stated.
State election commissioner Neela Satyanarayan said the poll commission has done everything possible to attract voters.
“The poor turnout is a major concern. All of us have to make even bigger efforts to convince more people to vote,” she said.
The turnout in the nine other municipal corporations across the state was lesser than the previous polls Barring Ulhasnagar (43%), the other eight corporations polled in the range of 50% to 58%. Thane polled 52%, which is 4% lesser than the previous elections.