Delay leads to polling going on till late evening | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Delay leads to polling going on till late evening

May 21, 2024 07:06 AM IST

With delays in the polling process, voting went on till 8 pm at five polling stations in the city and the Election Commission of India (ECI) first extended the voting hours till 6 pm and later announced that all those who were present at the polling centres at 6 pm would be allowed to vote

Mumbai: Poll Day in Mumbai was marred by complaints of the slow pace of voting across the city. A number of polling booths saw long queues, with people waiting for two to three hours to cast their vote.

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With delays in the polling process, voting went on till 8 pm at five polling stations in the city. The Election Commission of India (ECI) first extended the voting hours till 6 pm and later announced that all those who were present at the polling centres at 6 pm would be allowed to vote.

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The election authorities also rushed their reserve staff to booths to speed up the voting process. “Due to an overwhelming response in the morning hours, there were long queues at some polling booths,” said Maharashtra’s chief electoral officer S Chockalingam. “I instructed all collectors and returning officers to send additional manpower from the reserve pool. Senior officers visited crowded booths to streamline the process. By afternoon, the queues were smaller.”

Mumbai suburban district collector Rajendra Kshirsagar said that most of the reserve staff of about 3,500 was used. While polling in the suburbs’ 7,384 booths ended by 7.15 pm, in the island city it went on till 8 pm, with some polling stations in Sion Koliwada, Mahim and Byculla being the last to finish.

Sources in the collectorate said that a lot of time was wasted in ensuring that cell phones were kept out of polling booths. “The rule was introduced this year by the EC,” said a presiding officer in Ghatkopar.

Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis called up Chockalingam and collectors Yadav and Kshirsagar and asked them the reasons for the delay and also requested the Election Commission to speed things up. Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray also tweeted on the delay and some Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders rang up EC officials in Delhi. After this, Chockalingam put pressure on his officers to streamline things.

In Thane, collector Ashok Shingare said that there were long queues in 10 polling stations in Mumbra, and polling went on till 7.30 pm. “We had to deploy around 55 more personnel in Mumbra and used our reserve staff in other areas too,” he said.

In Palghar district, there were huge groups of voters at polling booths in Boisar and Dahanu. Palghar district collector Govind Bodke said that he sent tehsildar and naib tehsildars to supervise this, and voting ended at 9.45 pm. Nashik collector Jalaj Sharma said that voting in Nashik closed at 8.15 pm and voting in Dindori closed at 7.30 pm.

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