The voter turnout was abysmally low as compared with the enthusiastic response witnessed during the Lok Sabha elections.
NAVI MUMBAI : A pathological laboratory at Vashi came out with a novel idea to encourage people to go out and vote.
“Show your index finger (with indelible ink mark) and get 10% discount on tests”, said the lab’s leaflet distributed through the morning newspapers.
The lab obviously wanted to cash in on the so-called poll fever and get some clientele to go for blood and other checks. But the trick obviously did not click. It is a different matter that many people have been reporting sick due to post-monsoon and October heat effects.
Voters, particularly in urban areas, could just walk into the booths and walk out in a minute. Local journalist G M Jeddy said those living in housing societies of urban areas hardly bothered to come out.
Unlike during the Lok Sabha poll, one could hardly see any volunteers making rounds of residential complexes reminding people to vote. Also, many residents did not get voter slips from candidates of any party.
One of the main reasons for the voter apathy was the split of alliances and multi-cornered contests. The campaign was also marred by allegations and counter allegations of corruption and thugs ruling the roost.
“Hamaam mein sab nangay hain sir ji, kis ko vote dein,” (all are naked in bath room, can’t make out whom to vote) said an exasperated auto rickshaw driver waiting for passengers at Vashi railway station. Neither he nor any one from his family went out to vote.
A major impediment that volunteers came across was that several polling booths were situated in first floors of school buildings with no ramps to facilitate the handicapped and senior citizens to be taken up.
People seem to have preferred to enjoy the mid-week holiday with an afternoon drink, family lunch and siesta as candidates like Vijay Nahata of Shiv Sena sent out text messages at 4 PM: “Last two hours left to cast vote. Your vote will make a difference.”
B N KUMAR
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