MUMBAI: The expected surge in voter turnout that analysts and the media had forecast as a reaction to the November 26 terror attacks that struck South Mumbai did not materialise on Thursday with the turnout here falling below that of the last general election.
The South Mumbai constituency on Thursday recorded a voter turnout of 43.33 per cent.
In 2004, South and South Central Mumbai, which were merged after delimitation into the current South Mumbai constituency, together recorded a turnout of 46.97 per cent.
Thursday’s polling indicated that terrorism was not the defining issue for Mumbai voters this election as had often been suggested after the November attacks, political analysts said.
The figures also suggested that the turnout among the middle-class and upper middle-class voters in the elite neighbourhoods of terror-struck Colaba, Malabar Hill and Cuffe Parade recorded a significant drop from the last general election, with voters in the relatively poorer areas of Byculla, Sewri and Worli included in the constituency after delimitation expected to have propped up much of Thursday’s voting.
“If terror was a defining issue for changing the pattern of governance we would have certainly seen a higher turnout,” said B. Venkatesh Kumar, a political analyst at Mumbai University.
He said the low turnout would benefit the incumbent, Milind Deora of the Congress.
Mr. Deora’s challengers include Mohan Rawale of the Shiv Sena, Bala Nandgaonkar of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and independent candidate Meera Sanyal. Mr. Rawle is expected to put up a close fight.
Several voters The Hindu interviewed said economic development was their main concern, and they did not see security as a partisan issue. Sahil Kadaki, 28, a resident of Malabar Hill, said terror wasn’t an electoral issue because “no party seems to be different in any way when it comes to security.”