The final phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra saw lacklustre participation in Mumbai, marked by issues like missing voter names, inadequate facilities at polling booths, and sluggish voting. Despite the city’s reputation for bustling activity, all six constituencies in Mumbai registered less than 50 per cent voter turnout as per the Election Commission’s latest data by Monday evening. 

The 13 constituencies that went to polls in Maharashtra, including six in Mumbai, recorded a voter turnout of 48.66 per cent.

Mumbaikars braved heat and tardiness at polling centres as they queued for up to two to four hours to exercise their vote. Celebrities, common people, and corporate chiefs turned up to vote in a high-stakes battle to select parliamentarians in six constituencies in Mumbai. But some left for home disappointed due to the rush or after not finding their name in the electoral rolls.

The tardiness in polling booths led to a blame game between Shiv Sena (UBT) and BJP. Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray didn’t hold back in his criticism of the Election Commission of India (ECI) over the sluggish pace of voting in Mumbai. He claimed that ECI officials were dragging their feet in areas where his party usually sees strong support. Thackeray called on voters to make sure they cast their votes and even urged them to report any ECI staff they suspected of delaying the process, promising swift action against them.

In response to Thackeray’s comments, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis posted on X, stating, “We were the first to bring the slow pace of voting in Mumbai to the commission’s attention. Now, predictably, Uddhav Thackeray has begun his usual rhetoric. As always, they are blaming Modi ji when their defeat is evident. They are already preparing for the post-June 4 scenario,” Fadnavis added.

Deepak Parekh, former chairman of HDFC, also brought to light the difficulties ordinary residents faced. “ I know some people who stood for one hour and went as the weather was hot,” Parekh told news agency ANI.

Parekh, who voted in South Mumbai, said it is necessary to have a stable government. “It is the key to progress. So we need stability. We need good leadership at the centre, which we’ve been having for the last ten years... India is doing well. The priority even of the existing government is to bring the lowest strata of people up,” he added.

Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons, Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran, RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani and family were also among those who exercised their franchise. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das voted early in the morning along with his family.

“Anyone who thinks about the nation should come and vote. I am voting for development,” said Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla Group, told PTI.

“The privilege of deciding who will govern us is a blessing. Never turn your back on a blessing,” wrote Anand Mahindra on social media platform X.