Mumbai

After LS poll high, Mumbai hopes to repeat surge in turnout

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Fears that long weekend, wet weather may play spoilsport; Election Commission, district administration take steps for voter awareness

In the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, more than half of Mumbai — 55.1% — stepped out to vote, the highest turnout in decades. It remains to be seen if the city can replicate the same on Monday as the State elects its representatives to the Legislative Assembly.

In the 2009 Assembly polls, Mumbai had recorded a voter turnout of 45%, while in 2014 the figure was 51%. There are concerns this time that the polling day following a weekend, and the rainy weather will affect the turnout, but the Election Commission has said it has carried out several awareness measures.

After continuous drizzles since Friday, Mumbaikars chose to stay indoors on an overcast Sunday. Mumbai had recorded 18.2 mm rainfall in the 24 hours up to 8.30 a.m. on Sunday. The India Meteorological Department has forecast rain and thundershowers for Monday and Tuesday in Mumbai, Thane and Palghar.

Despite being the capital, Mumbai traditionally has dismal voting figures as compared to the rest of the State, something it is criticised for.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election that brought the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to power, the city had recorded a high turnout of 51.6%, a jump of 10 percentage points over 2009. However, in the Assembly elections that followed in October the same year, the turnout was slightly lower at 51%.

The district administration has been trying to boost the polling figure through flash mobs, street plays, skits, cycle rallies, and pledges in schools to appeal to people to come out in large numbers. It has provided a number of facilities at polling booths for women with infants, senior citizens, disabled people. It has also engaged celebrities to appeal to people to fulfil their duty and right of voting.

“My family and I have a holiday on Monday. We went for a short trip on Saturday, but did not go for a long one as we will be voting on Monday. We will not let go of our right to vote for any reason,” Nita Sharma, a resident of Kandivali, said.

Activists, too are hoping for a record turnout.

Milind Mhaske of Praja Foundation said, “The rain and long weekend are factors this polling day. Besides, the election season has not seen as much enthusiasm from political parties. As compared to the Lok Sabha elections, there was no hectic campaigning. Another factor is of election fatigue. Maharashtra saw elections only six months ago and people might be tired of it. We hope people defy all these factors.”

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 4:54:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/after-ls-poll-high-city-hopes-to-repeat-surge-in-turnout/article29753384.ece

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