There are around 1.46 lakh first-time voters in Mumbai, and they could decide the fortunes of political parties in the coming Lok Sabha polls.
The election commission’s (EC) drive last year to revise the electoral rolls saw 1,09,920 first-time voters being enrolled in Mumbai suburbs and 35,753 in the city. In the suburbs 3,25,642 new voters have been registered, and in the island city 1,04,848. The exercise also saw 49,685 voters being deleted from the suburban list and 1,75,605 from Mumbai city.
EC officials were of the opinion that the new voters were eager to exercise their franchise. This at a time when political parties are targeting the middle and upper middle-class youth in cities through the social media and the like.
The highest number of first-time voters (6,858) are in Bhandup West (LS) constituency, followed by Anushakti Nagar (5,974), Ghatkopar West (5,654) and Dharavi (5,605). The least number (2,127) of maiden voters are in Mumbadevi assembly segment, which is part of South Mumbai LS constituency. Kurla has 2,625 new entrants.
In the number of deletions from the rolls, the island city stands out, indicating a population down-growth. There are 40,013 deletions in the Dharavi constituency, followed by 34,883 in Sion-Koliwada and 25,228 in Colaba.
Kurla and Vandre East constituencies saw the least number of deletions, 469 and 587, respectively.
Jogeshwari East (20,391) and Anushakti Nagar (20,001) saw the maximum number of new registrations. The least number of additions are in Mumbaidevi (6,088), Vandre East (6,189) and Mahim (6,564).
According to officials, issues like youth disconnect, gender gap, urban apathy and problems people in backward and inaccessible areas face generally lead to high voter turnout.
BJP banks on the euphoria around its PM nominee, Narendra Modi, to attract youth; the AAP on the die-hard ant-corruption pitch of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Raj Thackeray’s MNS, which successfully broke into Shiv Sena’s catchment area, the Maharashtrian youth, claims it would consolidate its gains in that sector.
BJP leader and former Lok Sabha MP Kirit Somaiya had a different story to tell, however. According to him, around 50% of people in the 18-23 age group has not been enrolled. He says the youth support Modi for his “healthy administration and vision for development”.
Somaiya also charged that the process to delete voters was “selectively flawed” with some constituencies seeing more deletions than others.
NCP MLA and spokesperson Nawab Malik was of the opinion that the débutantes would vote in the traditional voting patterns followed by their families or social/linguistic communities.
Surendra Jondhale, professor, department of civics and politics, University of Mumbai, pointed out that it was tough to measure “the articulated political expression of the youth,” and hence difficult to predict which way the youth vote would swing.
Constituencies with highest no. of voters