Polling for the 227-member BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was largely peaceful on Thursday but only 42-45 per cent of the 10 million voters exercised their franchisee.
A large number failed to vote due to typographical errors and printing mistakes in the voters’ list while others preferred to sit at home or enjoy the holiday. Polling in nine other municipal corporations ranged between 45 per cent and 62 per cent. There were some stray incidents of attacks on party offices and manhandling of party activists and supporters.
Polling also took place in the municipal corporations of Thane (58-60 per cent), Pune (55 per cent), Pimpri Chinchwad (58-62 per cent), Nagpur (48-50 per cent), Nashik (50-52 per cent), Solapur (58-60 per cent), Amravati (60-62 per cent), Akola (60-62 per cent) and Ulhasnagar (45 per cent).
State election commissioner Neela Satyanarayan said by and large the polling in all 10 civic bodies ended peacefully. The state election commission had sent out SMSs to a large number of voters asking them to exercise their right, she said.
The results would determine if the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is a king or a kingmaker. Today’s polling would also decide if the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP combine, which had roped in the Dalit-dominated Republican Party of India (RPI), would retain supremacy in the civic body.
The Congress and NCP, which contested polls together, campaigned vigorously with an appeal to voters to dislodge the 16-year rule of the Shiv Sena-BJP combine. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which contested alone, has made all efforts to encash anti-incumbency by luring younger population and disgruntled Shiv Sainiks.
In all 2,232 candidates are in the fray for the BMC polls. Out of 2,232 contestants, the Congress has fielded candidates on 170 seats and its alliance partner, the NCP, on 57 seats. The Shiv Sena is contesting 135 seats and the BJP in 63.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, led by Raj Thackeray is in the fray for the second time, with 223 candidates. The BSP is fighting for 133 seats, SP for 115, Communist Party 16, CPM 5, Janata Dal (Secular) 13, All India Forward Block 1, Lok Janshakti Party 9, Rashtriya Janata Dal 6, and the Janata Dal United 5.
In Mumbai, police had beefed up security measures to ensure smooth voting. A total of 2,375 police officers and 20,000 policemen were deployed at polling booths across the metropolis. Almost 2,000 homeguards and personnel of the State Reserve Police Force and Rapid Action Force have been deployed at strategic locations. About 41,000 BMC staff were deployed on election duty at 8,326 polling stations.