Despite the EVM snags and low enthusiasm, the western suburbs saw higher voter turnout. A significant exception was Bandra West constituency where BJP minister Ashish Shelar is locked in a high-profile fight with Congress’s Asif Zakaria.
While the western suburbs recorded a higher turnout compared to the other parts of the city, the overall voting percentage was lower than that the 2014 Assembly polls. Bandra West recorded a low voter turnout as its overall turnout fell from 51.23% in 2014 to 43.76% this year. Bandra East, which is home to the Thackeray family, saw 50.65% turnout, as opposed to 47.22% in 2014. In Borivali, which had the highest turnout among the northern suburbs, there was an increase in the voter turnout from 53.64% in 2014 to 54.20% this year.
Slum-dominated parts of constituencies like Malad West, where sitting Congress MLA Aslam Shaikh is contesting against BJP’s Ramesh Thakur, saw 55.37% voter turnout compared to 50.07% in 2014. In constituencies such as Dahisar, Magathane, Charkop, Dindoshi, Kalina, Andheri east and Versova, there was a marginal increase in the voter turnout.
Zakaria attributed it to the anguish against the sitting MLA. “This will benefit us, but the voter turnout is surprising as we were expecting a high voter turnout,” he said.
Ashish Shelar said, “An election ahead of Diwali and holidays could be some of the factors behind it.”
In many places, EVM snags were recorded throughout the day causing a delay of 15 to 30 minutes in several polling stations. EVM machines had to be replaced in various places like Dahisar, Malad West, Andheri West, Versova, Andheri East, Kalina and Bandra West. In Dahisar, MNS candidate Rajesh Yerunkar said EVM snags were reported in four to five polling booths. “ While some reports of EVM malfunctioning were reported in Kandivali , returning officer Vikasak Naik said that they were fixed immediately and there was hardly any delay.”
More complaints were reported in Jogeshwari East, Goregaon, Dindoshi, Malad West and Andheri West.
Rajul Patel, a rebel from Shiv Sena, said, “There were a few complaints of EVM malfunctioning in Anand Nagar’s City International School.” Congress’s Andheri East candidate Jagdish Kutty had a similar complaint.
Magathane and Kandivali centres in particular saw long queues in the first half of the day with people having to wait for nearly 40 minutes for their turn to come. Several voters could not vote despite having identity proofs as their names were missing from the list.
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