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Maharashtra civic polls: DISASTROUS turnout in Mumbai

Source: PTI
Last updated on: February 16, 2012 14:04 IST
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Marked by a poor turnout, polling is in progress on Thursday in 10 municipal corporations across Maharashtra, including the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, with no untoward incident reported so far.

Voter apathy was evident in Mumbai with hardly 8.4 per cent of the 1.02 crore electorate casting their votes till 10 am, two-hours-and-a-half after polling began.

Despite all government offices, educational institutions and a large number of private establishments declaring a holiday to enable the voters cast their ballots, there were hardly any queues seen at polling stations.

Congress MP from Mumbai North-Central constituency, Priya Dutt, expressed strong displeasure over the apathy of voters.

"It is very sad that a lot of people have not come out to vote. If you don't vote, you have no right to complain. They are not contributing to the society. You are getting what you are harming the society and the country," she said.

HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh also disapproved of the people's lukewarm response to the civic elections.

"Voting is a fundamental right and people must exercise their franchise," he said.

"Educated people don't come out and vote. The quality of life is going down in the city and some desperate measures are needed," he said.

Film personality Gulzar, who arrived at a polling station to cast his vote was "disappointed" that his name was missing from the voters list.

No untoward incident has so far been reported from anywhere in the city or nine other municipal bodies where polling is underway.

A 55-year-old identified as Lalmani Vishwakarma, collapsed and died after casting his ballot at Yograj Vidyalaya polling booth in Saki Naka's ward number 154.

An electorate of over 2.02 crore are eligible to elect their representatives from among 1,244 candidates in the fray.

Besides Mumbai, elections are being held in Thane, Ulhasnagar, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Nashik, Akola, Amravati, Nagpur and Mumbai municipal corporations.

In Nagpur, polling started on a tardy pace but picked up soon after with 15 percent polling recorded till 11.30 am.

The EVM malfunction was reported from a public library in Rameshwari area in south city area following which half hour was lost in the process, official sources said.

Bharatiya Janata Party national president Nitin Gadkari accompanied by his wife Kanchan and other family members turned up at a booth in Mahal and exercised their franchise.

All India Congress Committee general secretary and local MP Vilas Muttemwar accompanied by his wife Chhaya and other family memmbers also cast their ballot early on Thursday.

In Nashik, voting began this morning for 122 seats in the municipal corporation, where 929 candidates are in the fray.

The first two hours saw 8-10 percent polling on a peaceful note at 1253 voting centres. The total number of electorate is 1,03,500, NMC sources said.

Two complaints of EVM malfunction were received from ward 43 and 49 in Cidco area.

In Amravati, polling began on a slow note and the turnout was very low. Only about five per cent votes were cast in the first one and half hour of polling, AMC sources said.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Thane, an average 12 percent polling was reported during the first two hours, with long queues seen outside some polling booths.

More than 20 platoons of SRPF have been deployed besides over 8,000 police personnel to ensure fair polling for the Thane Municipal Corporation, police said.

There are 991 sensitive polling booths in Thane and Ulhasnagar. In addition to this, the election officials here have identified 118 hyper sensitive polling booths.

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