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Slow Pace and Voter Discontent Plague Mumbai Region’s Lok Sabha Polls

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The final phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra saw a disappointing turnout in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, with various complaints surfacing regarding missing names, inadequate facilities, and sluggish voting procedures. By 5 pm, the 13 constituencies that went to the polls displayed a turnout of 48.66%, with Dindori registering the highest at 57.06% and Kalyan the lowest at 41.70%. Mumbai, specifically, recorded a poll percentage of 47.52%.

Despite the lower-than-desired turnout, authorities from Maharashtra’s Election Commission branch anticipate that the overall voter participation in Mumbai will exceed the 55.38% turnout recorded during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. However, issues such as missing names, slow voting process, lack of basic amenities at polling booths, and inconsistent rule implementation plagued constituencies in Mumbai and Thane.

Voters in Kalyan and Thane voiced concerns over numerous missing names, attributing it to the careless deletion process by electoral authorities. The presence of duplicated or deceased voter names further contributed to the decreased overall voting percentage in these regions. Parag Chavan, a former Shiv Sena (UBT) corporator from Parel, highlighted the lack of basic amenities like fans, drinking water, and wheelchair at polling locations such as MD College and Veterinary College in Parel.

There were incidents at St. Paul School polling booths where voters were denied entry with mobile phones, leading to congestion outside the premises as voters arranged for their devices to be held by relatives waiting to take turns voting. Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray criticized the Election Commission of India for the sluggish voting pace in Mumbai, alleging delays in areas where his party typically garners more support.

Former minister Aditya Thackeray released a video urging the Election Commission to ensure basic amenities at polling stations and address the slow voting pace. Additionally, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis requested the Election Commission to investigate the reports of poor turnout and instructed local collectors to prevent voter inconvenience.

Shiv Sena candidate Naresh Mhaske in Thane, under CM Shinde’s leadership, called on the Election Commission to extend voting hours due to the sluggish process in certain constituencies. The ten constituencies within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region experienced varying voter turnouts on the final phase, with six seeing closely contested battles between ruling and opposition alliances.

High-profile contests in Mumbai include Union Minister Piyush Goyal facing off against Congress’s Bhushan Patil in the BJP stronghold of Mumbai North constituency, and sitting Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Arvind Sawant pitted against CM Eknath Shinde’s candidate Yamini Jadhav in South Mumbai.

Rachel Adams

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