MUMBAI: With polling for Maharashtra Assembly elections are underway, it would be interesting to see if India's financial capital, Mumbai, infamous for low voter turnout, can break its previous records.
Mumbai's voter turnout remained below 50 per cent between 1999 to 2009 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. In 2014, however, the tally improved and the city crossed the halfway mark in both General and state Assembly polls.
This year, the city registered its highest-ever turnout in the general elections with 55 per cent people coming out to exercise their adult franchise. However, Mumbai still lagged behind national capital Delhi where 60 per cent voter turnout was registered.
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During his election speeches, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also appealed people to not skip voting and come out for vote on Monday.
In Mumbai, 9,894 polling stations have been set up at 1,537 locations. 36 out of 288 seats come in the city where 334 candidates are in the fray. Mumbai has 97.72 lakh registered voters.
BJP and Shiv Sena are contesting 17 and 19 of these seats respectively while the Congress has fielded candidates in 29 seats of the city. Congress ally NCP has pitted candidates on six seats whereas one seat is being contested by Samajwadi party candidate.
Among top contests, all eyes will be on Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray's son Aditya Thackeray who is contesting against his main NCP rival Suresh Mane.
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Mumbai BJP President, five-time MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha is up against Congress's Hira N. Devasi in Malabar Hill constituency while Mumbai NCP President Nawab Malik is in fray against Shiv Sena's Tukaram Kate in Anushakti Nagar.
As Mumbai residents' poll vote today, the weather is also expected to remain pleasant with light showers expected at some locations. IMD's Regional Meteorological Centre, Mumbai has predicted cloudy sky with light to moderate rain on Monday.
"Generally there will be cloudy sky with the possibility of light to moderate rain/thundershowers in city and suburbs," the Centre said in the weather bulletin.
As part of security arrangement, 40,000 police personnel have been deployed in Mumbai with drones also being used for surveillance, officials had said.
"Assembly elections are to be held in Maharashtra on October 21. In view of that, about 40,000 personnel will be deployed in Mumbai," said Mumbai Police spokesperson Pranay Ashok.
Overall in the 288-member Assembly, BJP is contesting on 164 seats, which includes candidates of smaller allies contesting on its lotus symbol, while its key ally Shiv Sena has fielded 126 candidates.
On the other hand, Congress has its candidates in 147 constituencies and NCP will contest 121 seats.
The voting for assembly polls had begun today at 7 am and will continue till evening. The votes will be counted on October 24.