Lok Sabha elections 2019: North West Mumbai fails to meet Congress’s great expectations
In a constituency where two heavyweights – sitting Member of Parliament Gajanan Kirtikar and Congress candidate Sanjay Nirupam – are contesting against each other, the fight seems to have gotten tougher, with a turnout of 54.71%. The constituency saw 50.57% voting in 2014.
The constituency is a mix of Marathi, Muslims and North Indians voters and all the six Assembly constituencies are with the saffron combine — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena. Moreover, the turnout expected by the Congress from certain areas in the constituency was considerably low.
As the Dindoshi Assembly seat is dominated by North Indians, Versova and Andheri West constituencies by Muslims, the Congress was expecting a larger participation. While Dindoshi saw 56.13% turnout, Versova and Andheri West registered 45.87% and 49.10% voting, respectively. Also, Nirupam hails from Versova, where according to the Election Commission, lowest turnout was recorded among the six Assembly constituencies.
Jogeshwari East and Andheri East, where the Sena is known to have a stronghold, saw a maximum turnout of 58.55% and 56.31%. From Goregaon Assembly seat, which has BJP’s Vidya Thakur as an MLA in 2014, the turnout was 53.14%.
A Congress functionary said, “We were expecting more voters to participate in areas such as Versova and Andheri West. Even though the voter turnout in Versova has marginally increased from last time, which was around 42%, it was the lowest compared to other five Assembly constituencies in North West.”
On polling day, the constituency got several complaints from voters, with issues ranging from missing names on the list to EVM malfunctioning, which delayed the voting process. Both the candidates —Nirupam and Kirtikar – were approached with complaints by voters.
An entire set of a polling booth at Cama Institute Road near Gilbert Hill in Andheri stopped responding. The machines were replaced and the polling started only after an hour. Amid chaos, some left without voting. Ritu Pathak, 30, one of the voters at the polling booth, said, “I have been waiting in the queue for three hours now, as the machines were being replaced. This is lack of management by the authorities.”
Another voter from Versova, Anju Pathak, 60, who was suffering from eczema, waited for more than an hour just to know that her name is not in the voting list. Meanwhile, Harendra R, 94, said, he is voting since the first elections after Independence. “I don’t have the right to complain, if I don’t exercise my right.”