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HEAT AND HOLIDAYS BEAT DEMOCRACY AS VOTERS TURN OUT IS A MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT IN CITY OF 21ST CENTURY NAVI MUMBAI

No appeals, public messages or initiatives of mass awakenings worked in Navi Mumbai or any constituency as heat and holidays beat democracy. We bring to you reasons for this with a case example of the city of 21st century Navi Mumbai. Political parties and analysts attributed the low voter turnout in Mumbai and Thane to factors such as timing of the poll, soaring heat, negative campaigns that impacted the common citizen’s morale and dearth of political awareness among the educated electorate. Apart from heat, the impetus that would make people come out and vote was missing in the polls. Some analysts say that people are disillusioned with governance. The new breed of politicians have limited themselves to organizing social, cultural and religious festivals are also to be blamed for breaching the people’s confidence in democracy. Some analysts are also of the opinion that voting should be made compulsory. But no matter what the factors are it is really unfortunate that the voting percentage has been so low. For instance in Navi Mumbai, rural voters did better than their urban counterparts in exercising their franchise in the Thane Lok Sabha Constituency, which registered 43% per cent of polling. There are 17 lac 98 thou 714 voters in the 25 Thane Lok Sabha Constituency. High percentage of polling was registered in areas where the literacy rate was low like slums and villages. The low turnout in Navi Mumbai, although dominated by the educated middle class, reinforces the notion that the educated middle class is apathetic to elections. We did speak to some responsible citizens from across the city who reiterated the importance of why every citizen should vote. However, the number of such responsible citizens was not encouraging. Observers say that despite the belief that 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks would bring a revolutionary change in mindset of apathetic voters in these general elections – nothing like this seem to happen in Navi Mumbai. The media, NGOs and political parties conducted over a month-long drive to encourage the educated people to vote. But if the poll percentage for 25 Thane Lok Sabha Constituency is an indication that their efforts have not yielded the desired result. No matter what is the common excuse given by an average educated voters, truth is that apathy clubbed with heat and holidays beat the will of voters to exercise their franchise. But no matter what their argument is, its sounds hollow and when the majority of citizens in an educated city like Navi Mumbai are so indifferent towards elections, they loose their right to freedom on expression on issues and concerns of the system. Bureau report – NMTV News.

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