Lok Sabha elections 2019: Mumbai makes its 2019 lok sabha choice
Mumbai traditionally records a low voter turnout — it was 51.59% in 2014, and a dismal 41.4% in 2009. This year, the number of voters on the list has decreased compared to 2014, which may have contributed to the higher percentage. In 2014, Mumbai had 99 lakh registered voters; this year, there were 96.40 lakh voters.Updated: Apr 30, 2019 07:55 IST
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbaiites stepped out in large numbers to choose their government on Monday, with a 55.11% voter turnout recorded across six constituencies.
Monday’s turnout was Mumbai’s best in 30 years, surpassing even the 2014 voting average at the height of the ‘Modi wave’. Mumbai North recorded the best numbers, with a 59.32% turnout, while Mumbai South recorded the lowest, at 52.15%.
Polling was smooth at most places across the city, but there were complaints of missing names and EVM glitches at some booths.
Mumbai traditionally records a low voter turnout — it was 51.59% in 2014, and a dismal 41.4% in 2009. This year, the number of voters on the list has decreased compared to 2014, which may have contributed to the higher percentage. In 2014, Mumbai had 99 lakh registered voters; this year, there were 96.40 lakh voters.
At first glance, voting trends and turnouts indicate an advantage for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena combine , as turnouts were highest in the strongholds of these parties. Of the six seats in Mumbai, the BJP and Sena currently hold three each. The Congress and NCP alliance did not manage to get voters to come out in areas where they have support. Muslim-dominated assembly segments such as Mumbadevi, Malad-Malvani and Mankhurd-Shivajinagar, which usually see a large number of voters, recorded a lower turnout compared to other areas.
The Congress has put up a strong fight in three constituencies — Mumbai South, Mumbai South Central and Mumbai North Central. A keenly-watched battle was in the Mumbai South constituency, where two-time Congress MP Milind Deora took on Shiv Sena’s sitting MP Arvind Sawant.
The constituency breached the 50%-mark by evening to finish at 52.15%, but recorded marginally lower turnout than 2014.
The upscale Malabar Hill area saw the highest voting in this constituency, at 56%. The assembly segments of Worli and Sewri — traditionally Sena and BJP strongholds — saw a turnout above 50%. The Sena has legislators in Worli and Sewri, while the BJP holds the Malabar Hill Assembly seat.
Traditional Congress strongholds in Byculla and Mumbadevi saw 53.01% and 46.90% voting, which means turnouts in Malabar Hill and Colaba (46.10%) could hold the key to victory in this prestigious constituency.
The Mumbai North constituency, where Bollywood actor Urmila Matondkar contested for the Congress, against sitting BJP MP Gopal Shetty, recorded the highest turnout. The constituency includes the Assembly segments Borivli (62.15% turnout), Dahisar (61.20%), Charkop (58.93%) and Magathane (56%).
Here, the chunk of voters are Marathi and Gujarati-speaking people who have traditionally voted for the BJP and the Sena.
During her campaign, Matondkar targeted the Marathi voters and may manage to eat into Shetty’s share. In the Malad (West) Assembly segment, which has a substantial Muslim voter population, the turnout was 52.85%.
Mumbai North Central saw a turnout of 52.84%, and could see a close contest between Congress’ Priya Dutt and BJP’s Poonam Mahajan. The pockets where both parties are popular recorded good voter turnouts.
Overall, 54.05% of people in this constituency voted on Monday . The Vile Parle Assembly segment, a BJP stronghold, saw the highest turnout, at 59.92%, while the Bandra (West) Assembly segment recorded the lowest of the six segments, with a poll percentage of 50.01%.
The Congress has pockets of influence in Kalina and Chandivali, where it has an MLA, Naseem Khan. However, both areas recorded a low voting percentage, of 49.70 % and 59.92% respectively.
The Mumbai South Central constituency, which has 14.40 lakh voters, saw a turnout of 55.35%. The contest for this seat is between Sena’s Rahul Shewale and former MP and veteran Congress leader Eknath Gaikwad. Four of the six assembly segments – Sion-Koliwada, Anushakti Nagar, Chembur and Mahim — are held by the BJP and Sena, while Congress holds Dharavi. Wadala MLA Kalidas Kolambkar of the Congress campaigned openly for Shewale, which could affect Gaikwad’s votes.
In the Mumbai North East constituency, which includes areas of Mulund, Ghatkopar, Bhandup, Vikhroli and Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar, there was a 56.31% voter turnout on Monday. Mulund and Ghatkopar (East) topped this constituency, with 60.10% and 60.30% respectively. Both areas are considered to be BJP strongholds owing to the large Gujarati population. There are close to two lakh Gujarati voters in the constituency who have pledged support to BJP’s Manoj Kotak, a three-time corporator from Mulund.
Monday’s turnout makes the fight tougher for NCP’s Sanjay Dina Patil, as the Assembly segment of Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar recorded a low 44.02% voter turnout, the lowest among all six state Assembly segments in the Lok Sabha constituency. However, this Assembly segment has a majority of Muslim voters who support Patil. Noor Khan, 28, a resident of Govandi, said, “A majority of the people are voting for Patil, as we do not want to vote for the BJP.” A BJP worker, however, said, “Since the turnout is better from BJP’s strongholds, Manoj Kotak definitely has an edge.”
During his campaign, Patil had gained an edge over Kotak as the latter had replaced BJP’s Kirit Somaiya as the candidate. Patil also got support from the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
In the Mumbai North West constituency, Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar took on Congress’ Sanjay Nirupam. The constituency bettered its performance from 2014, with a voter turnout of 54.71%.
Dindoshi and Goregaon, which has a high number of Marathi-speaking population, saw 56.13% and 53.14% stepping out to vote. Affluent areas such as Versova and Andheri (West) Assembly segments registered lower turnouts — 45.87% and 49.10%. According to demographic estimates with political parties, of the 2.77 lakh voters in this constituency, 1.35 lakh are Marathis. Kirtikar can benefit from the higher turnout in the Marathi-dominated areas.
Through the day, many voters complained about not finding their names in the electoral rolls.
Pradosh Pisat,48, a resident of Saibaba Nagar in Borivli, said he did not find his name and had to return from the polling centre. “I have been voting for several years and assumed my name would be on the list. This is really disappointing,” he said.
Another voter from Versova, Anju Pathak, who suffers from an ailment, rescheduled her doctor’s appointment to cast her vote. She waited for more than an hour just to find out her name was not on the voting list. She was barely able to walk and was accompanied by her husband and daughter, whose names were also missing. “I have been voting since I was 18 and faced no such issue.”
Kunal Dani, a former resident of Borivli who now lives in Nasik with his family, said his family travelled to Mumbai to cast their vote. “We cancelled all our commitments today,” he added. All of them got to cast their votes.
EVM glitches also came to the fore. EVM and VVPAT machines in a polling booth near Gilbert Hill in Andheri stopped working at 11:15 am. The machines were replaced and polling started after an hour, but some of the voters left without voting. Polling restarted at 12.16pm.
Ritu Pathak, 30, one of the voters at the booth said, “I have been waiting in queue for three hours as the machines were being replaced. This is poor management by authorities.”
First Published: Apr 30, 2019 03:46 IST