I know this is a trifle late, but I was away and could not find time to write. Here I am putting down some thoughts on the results of the just concluded MCGM elections.
Firstly, that even before the counting had begun, the real results of the elections were clear. More people opted for the “NOTA Party” (None Of The Above Party) than “AOPPT” (All Other Parties Put Together). The city recorded average voter turnout of around 45 % with the highest voting percentage in any constituency at 49.50 %. Not a single constituency had more than 50 % people going out to vote.
This has been interpreted by many as “voter apathy”. “……Mumbaikars have lost the right to complain……”, “…….Mumbaikars just don’t care……” and so on. Some also commented on the turnout being lower in the affluent areas of the city than the less affluent. I even heard one “expert" say on T.V. that Mumbaikars have so much money that they spend half their time abroad, and so it doesn’t matter to them who governs MCGM. Nothing can be farther from truth!
here), but there is no doubt that this is the message the people have given.
I also find the “affluent people don’t care” theory a little difficult to digest. True, voter turnout in areas such as Malabar Hill,
and Juhu have been shown to be lower than some of the slums and lower income
areas. But using the same statistics, one can say that voting percentage was
lower in the educated sections of the society, than the less
educated. Liquor bottles and chicken biryani cannot be used to bring the
Juhu voter out of his home, though it may work in the slums of Cheetah Camp or Kanjurmarg.
Some have observed that the Marathi dominated areas have shown higher voter turnouts than non-Marathi speaking areas. This once again shows the importance of having an “alternative”. The disgruntled (with the present governance) Marathi manoos perhaps found hope in Raj Thackeray’s MNS but the non-Maharashtrians had no one to look up to. Interestingly, the Congress propped up MNS in its early years in the hope that it (MNS) will finish the Shiv Sena, but the MNS seemed to have gained at the cost of Congress itself. While the MNS gained substantially in the elections, the Sena did not lose much. It is the Congress whose strength has come down from 71 to 51.
This is the real story of Mumbai elections - a fit case for Rule 49 – O! (Right to Reject all candidates).