Mumbai, rest of Maharashtra see late surge in voter turnout

With close finishes and some upsets band unexpected results, the state is expected to throw up a fractured mandate

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | October 15, 2014



While Haryana voted at a brisk pace, in Maharashtra, it started on a slow note before picking up pace slightly in the latter half of the afternoon. By 3 pm, the state had seen 40-percent polling, which was expected to cross the 55-percent mark by the time the last vote is cast sometime around 6 pm.

Assembly elections in Maharashtra have become extremely unpredictable this time, with all four major parties having broken their alliances. With close finishes and some upsets band unexpected results, the state is expected to throw up a fractured mandate.

In all, 4,119 candidates are contesting the 288 assembly seats, which include 276 women candidates. There are 8.35 crore eligible voters in the state.

Each party has been confident about getting majority votes, and amid tight security, voters started queuing up polling booths before 7 am.

In Mumbai, returning officer Nitin Mundawade of Andheri West, assembly constituency number 166, said 6.83% votes had been cast till 11 am, which increased to 27.33 percent by 1 pm. By 6 pm, when scheduled voting gets over, "I think it should go up to 55%".

As per Mumbai city collector’s office, the city recorded 38% voting till 3 pm.

The metropolis's suburbs recorded 42% voting by 3 pm. Rains in some parts of Vidarbha affected polling and a policeman on election duty died after being struck by lightning in Avdeghat polling station of Savner constituency. Technical problems in electronic voting machines (EVMs) were reported from some polling booths in Nagpur city and Wardha district in Vidarbha, and Sewree in Mumbai.

Voters in a Nashik booth complained that the voters' rolls were not in order. Congress's sitting MLA Amin Patel, too, complained of a lack of enthusiasm among the voters to come out on their own.

The early voters included former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who cast his vote in Karad, western Maharashtra, the family borough from where he is contesting, former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar in Baramati, former union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde in Solapur, leader of opposition in council Vinod Tawde in Mumbai, and NCP MP Supriya Sule and her mother Pratibha Pawar. 

State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis, a front-runner for the chief minister's post in the event of a BJP victory, voted from Nagpur, while former South Mumbai Lok Sabha MP Milind Deora of the Congress said the party perhaps needed to have advertised its achievements better after casting his vote.

Other personalities who went to vote early in Mumbai include Jaya and Abhishek Bachchan, Rekha, Hema Malini, Salman Khan, Gulzar, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Ambani, Raza Murad, Gulshan Grover, Pooja Bedi, Rahul Bose and Riteish Deshmukh among many others.

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