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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Maha polls: Why Mumbai’s voter turnout dipped

mumbai Updated: Oct 23, 2019 00:29 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Eeshanpriya M S

Why did Mumbai fail to match Maharashtra’s voter turnout on Monday?

According to experts, the city saw only 50.51% turnout, compared to the state’s 61.13% because the voters in Mumbai are generally less enthusiastic and also the election is perceived to be one-sided with no strong fight by the Opposition at several places.

Updated figures of voter turnout on Tuesday revealed Mumbai saw 50.51% voter turnout, the island city saw 48.3%, and the eastern and western suburbs saw 51.57% turnout.

Colaba fared the worst with just 40.11% turnout, followed by Versova in the western suburbs with 42.35% turnout, Andheri West with 43.50%, Bandra West with 43.97%, Mumbadevi at 44.34%, Kurla at 44.84%,
Goregaon at 46.4%, Malabar Hill at 46.9%, and Worli at 48%.

Among the best performers were Bhandup West at 56.15%, Anushakti Nagar at 55.7%, Dindoshi at 55.41%, Vikhroli at 55.26%, and Ghatkopar West 55.02%.

The areas of Colaba, Versova, Andheri West, Bandra West, Mumbadevi, Mankhurd, Kurla, Goregaon, Malabar Hill, Dharavi, Shivadi, Kandivali East, Worli, Kalina, recorded voting below the 50-% mark.

Of these, areas of Colaba, Malabar Hill, Bandra West, Andheri West, Versova and Worli are affluent constituencies and have active citizens and area locality management groups working closely with Mumbai’s municipal body on civic issues.

Mankhurd, Kurla, Kalina and Dharavi have considerable slum pockets, and Mumbadevi, Mankhurd, and Kurla have a large number of voters from the Muslim community.

Prakash Bal, senior political analyst, said, “Low voter turnout is due to the lack of BJP’s ability to address local issues during their campaign. All senior leaders from Delhi, even PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, who endorsed their party candidates focused on national issues of security.”

Bal said, “Another reason is the election was one-sided. Everyone presumed that the Shiv Sena-BJP’s alliance would win. There was less enthusiasm for voting. During the Lok Sabha elections, there was an element of surprise.”

Mumbai’s voter turnout for the Lok Sabha elections was 55.23%.”

Experts have blamed lack of strong opposition and choice for voters as reasons for the low turnout. Abhay Deshpande, a political analyst, said, “The Congress showed no enthusiasm this time. There was no opposition to vote for, and no prominent face voters could associate with.”

Incidentally, areas of Bhandup, Malad, Ghatkopar, Borivali, Mulund, Dahisar recorded voter turnout between 56% and 53%, all of these areas are predominantly Gujarati voters supporting the BJP.

Voters were also mistrustful of the EVMs. A voter from Dadar, who did not wish to be identified, said, “There is a sense that no matter which button I press on the EVM, my vote will be registered for one certain party. So my family and I refrained from voting.”

Bal believes opposition parties should have taken a stand about the EVMs.

Amin Patel, sitting member of legislative assembly (MLA) from Mumbadevi, said, “In my constituency, a lot of old buildings are undergoing redevelopment. Residents have rented transit homes elsewhere. They have not changed their names in the electoral list because they know they will return to this area after redevelopment. But on voting day, they prefer not to travel in traffic to return to their home constituency and vote.”