As the poll date nears, candidates in Mumbai are sweating it out criss-crossing through their constituencies undertaking 'padyatras' and 'jan-sampark' rallies to woo the 98.14 lakh electorate. All six constituencies Mumbai South, Mumbai South Central, Mumbai North Central, Mumbai North West, Mumbai North East and Mumbai North will go to polls on April 24 in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra.
A 98.14 lakh strong electorate will decide the fate of 116 candidates including 52 independents. The candidates have been engaging with people through daily rallies and padyatras (foot march) across different regions of their constituencies, encouraging them to vote for their rights.
Meanwhile, all efforts are being made to get Mumbai, which has a poor track record of voter percentage, out to vote. In 2009, 43.4% electorate out of the eligible 95 lakh had exercised their franchise. In five years, the voter population has also increased. In the suburbs, 3.5 lakh pledge forms have been distributed in schools, colleges where students have been asked to get it filled from their parents taking a pledge that they will vote. In addition, 2.5 lakh pledge forms have been filled from citizens during an awareness campaign by BMC. Suburban District Collector Shekhar Channe said the response has been positive and good.
Hoardings have been put up at bus stations/terminals, railway stations, tall buildings, traffic signals, skywalks. Various government agencies are pulling out all stops to reach out to various sections of the society to ensure that the voter turnout is good. Announcements are being made at railway stations urging people to vote on April 24. A special appeal by actor Aamir Khan, who is the brand ambassador of Election Commission of India is being aired in cinema halls, and cable TV networks.
To attract young voters, speech and interaction of former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam with students in Punjab is being publicised on the district collector's website. All six constituencies in Mumbai are set to witness either triangular or four-cornered contests with Congress-NCP going all out to retain their bastions against the Opposition onslaught banking on a "Modi wave".
As many as 116 candidates are in the fray for the six constituencies, which are currently held by the Congress-NCP.