Mumbai put up its best performance in 25 years on Thursday, ensuring a record voter turnout of 52.66 per cent. While each of the six constituencies in the city recorded a turnout of over 50 per cent, polling in South Mumbai, home to the elite, was 54 per cent.
Election records reveal that Thursday’s voting percentage is the highest since the 1989 LS polls when it was 55 per cent. Since 1989, the voting percentage crossed 50 per cent only once — 50.36 per cent in 1998.
Mumbai South Central, the city’s Marathi-speaking area, recorded the highest turnout of 55 per cent — nearly 16 percentage points higher than in 2009 when it was 39.51 per cent. Mumbai South, where the rich share space with the urban poor, came second with 54 per cent, up by nearly 14 percentage points from 2009.
Mumbai North and Mumbai North East, which comprise assembly pockets dominated by Gujaratis and Marwaris who support BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, recorded 53 per cent and 52 per cent respectively. The turnout in Mumbai North Central was 52 per cent and Mumbai North West 50 per cent.
For the ruling Congress-NCP alliance, which won all the six seats in 2009 due to a division in the Marathi votes by Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the sharp rise in turnout is a cause for alarm. “Such a high increase in voting percentage traditionally indicates a strong anti-incumbency sentiment,” said state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis.
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Moreover, the Muslim-dominated belts in Malvani, Bhendi Bazaar and Nagpada, where the turnout is usually high, did not see heavy polling on Thursday. Political analysts attributed this to a bitterness for the Congress and an unwillingness to align with the BJP-led alliance.
“We are still confident of doing very well in Mumbai. The minorities, Dalits and urban voters have certainly taken into consideration the policy measures undertaken by the Congress-NCP government,” said state PCC chief Manikrao Thakre.