Several corporate firms in Mumbai are likely to keep flexible office timings on February 21, polling day for the BMC elections, so as to ensure a larger voter turnout. Mumbai First, a city-based think tank, is in talks with 10-15 corporate houses and business groups in the city to let their employees go out and vote. “Up to 10-15 corporate groups in Mumbai have registered on our site and agreed to implement this model in their offices to promote voting on election day. The aim remains to ensure that the city at least crosses a 60 per cent mark in voting for the coming elections. It will also be to target the working urban middle class and facilitate voting from their end to the largest extent,” said Shishir Joshi, CEO Mumbai First.
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The move also calls for forming inter-departmental teams with respective team leaders who can motivate their members to come out and vote.
A few corporate groups in the city including MCX stock exchange, Vodafone, and Mahindra and Mahindra have agreed to implement the model in their office circles. During the last elections in 2012, the voter turnout was only 45 per cent. “We have agreed to ensure time flexibilities on the voting day to ensure maximum participation in voting. We are yet to decide on how the formation of teams will be and this may take another week. It is a personal effort taken so that enough voting for elections is ensured,” said a spokesperson for Vodafone.
“Data from the last four elections shows that every time elections are held in Mumbai, less than 45 per cent of registered voters have exercised their franchise. The process would need to commence in the present pre-polling time when leaders should remind their members about making or keeping their voter cards ready.Through this, they can expect more members from their respective teams to go out to vote. Encouraging voting through posting videos on social media about their efforts will also be an aim,” said Joshi.
As an incentive, nominees of the winning teams would be invited to engage in a round table on Mumbai’s challenges and solutions. The winning team, organisation or individuals will also get the opportunity to present a white paper on solutions for a better Mumbai, in the BMC elections “War Room”. “The people’s committee in our office will be finding out the eligible voters in our office from next week.We have also appointed volunteers who have taken it upon themselves to market the concept of voting,” said Mrugank Paranjape, spokesperson of MCX.
“Anything that contributes to a larger voter share on February 21 is appreciated. Through such initiatives our aim remains to guarantee 100 per cent voting on the election day,” said J S Saharia, state election commissioner.