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Phase 5: Mumbai voting hampered by delays, long queues, sweltering heat

May 20, 2024 20:10 IST

Mumbai residents faced delays, slow-paced voting process and long queues as the city went to polls on Monday amid sultry weather conditions, with Shiv Sena-Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray and Congress raising concerns.

IMAGE: Voters stand in a queue to cast their vote during the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections amid scorching heat at a polling booth in Dharavi, Mumbai, May, 20, 2024. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/

While at some places people who had turned up at polling booths early in the morning left without casting their vote after waiting in line for a long time, Sena-UBT chief Uddhav Thackeray alleged that the process was slowed down deliberately.


Polling was underway for 13 Lok Sabha constituencies including six in Mumbai city in the final phase of the general elections in Maharashtra.

A resident of Goregaon under Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency claimed that he had to wait for 45 minutes to cast his vote.

"I felt that the officials at the polling booth were taking long (to conduct the process)," he said.

A voter in Bimbisar Nagar in Goregaon East said, "I came to vote around noon, but it took nearly one and a half hours. I am a senior citizen and still came to vote, but it took longer than it had taken in 2019."

IMAGE: Voters waiting in queue at a polling booth in Pratiksha Nagar Sion. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/

Sultan Shaikh, a resident of Bhiwandi constituency near Mumbai, said, "I was told that my name is not there in the voters' list, so I could not vote."

Vimala Thakkar, another Bhiwandi resident, claimed that the names of all six members of her household who are eligible to vote were missing from the list.

"It is the same polling booth where we had cast votes in the past. We visited other polling stations too, but our names were not on the lists there too," she said.

The Shiv Sena-UBT also alleged that some polling stations in Borivali which falls under the Mumbai North constituency witnessed long queues with people waiting for more than one hour to cast their vote.

"There is a lot of enthusiasm among voters, but the Election Commission is acting in a partial manner. There is a delay by EC's representatives in certain areas," Uddhav Thackeray alleged at a press conference in the afternoon.

Maharashtra had recorded 48.66 per cent average polling as of 5 pm.

IMAGE: First-time voters after exercising their franchise. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/

Priyanka Chaturvedi, Sena-UBT Rajya Sabha member who was standing in a queue at a polling centre in Malad area of Mumbai, said, "Nearly 2,000 voters are expected to vote at one booth. The EC should have provided two machines to increase the pace. It looks like the EC is discouraging people from voting. People who have been standing since 7.30 am are able to vote at 10 am."

Congress candidate from Mumbai North Central constituency Varsha Gaikwad said, "I have received complaints from voters that they do not have enough facilities at polling booths. Long queues and exposure to the heat are testing their patience. Some people have returned home without exercising their franchise."

Mumbai recorded a maximum temperature of 35 degrees Celsius during the day.

The Shiv Sena-UBT president alleged that voting was delayed at several places in Mumbai and the Election Commission of India was doing this deliberately at the behest of the Narendra Modi government.

IMAGE: A senior citizen after casting her vote in Shivaji Park, Dadar. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/

Delay was taking place at the polling booths in areas where his party expects more votes, he said at a press conference here while urging electors to stand in queues as long as early morning if the process was slow.

As per poll officials, a voter turnout of 48.66 percent was recorded till 5 pm in 13 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra where the fifth and final phase of general elections was taking place.

In Mumbai, polling is taking place across all six Lok Sabha constituencies.

"Dirty games are being played through the Election Commission. There is a lot of enthusiasm among voters, but the Election Commission is acting in a partisan manner. There is a delay by EC's representatives in certain areas," Thackeray alleged.

IMAGE: Shiv Sena-UBT chief Uddhav Thackeray alongwith family members visit Mumbadevi temple. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/

Officials were cross-checking names several times, and women and senior citizens were facing problems at polling booths, the former Maharashtra chief minister said.

There was no drinking water in many places, he claimed.

"The Modi government is using the EC as its handmaiden due to its fear of losing. This is a ploy of the Modi government to ensure that voting against it is minimised," Thackeray alleged.

There was no incident of crowding outside polling stations in Mumbai city district due to slow voting process, said Mumbai city collector Sanjay Yadav.

In the morning, voters in large numbers assembled outside booths in Sewri, Sion Koliwada and one more place, but additional manpower was used to clear the rush and the polling process was conducted swiftly, the senior bureaucrat said.

"We were monitoring the situation at polling stations with the help of more than 2,500 web cameras, and arrangements were being made accordingly," he said.

"Everything was normal and peaceful during the voting as we have been preparing for the polls for the last two months," said Yadav, adding the turnout (in Mumbai city) is also good this time.

Voters who are at polling centres before or at 6 pm, will be allowed to cast their ballot, he said.

Mumbai Suburban District Collector Rajendra Kshirsagar said though there were long queues of electors at some booths, everyone who arrived before closing of polling time will be allowed to cast their vote.

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