Should we be surprised by the Mumbai voter turnout?

Posted on May 3, 2009 in Politics at Play


-Anshul Tewari

After all these days and months of trying and doing our bit to make people vote, the Mumbai voter turnout disappointed us all. During the past few months, a number of new NGO’s were formed, movements were started, youngsters were mobilized to talk to people, celebs were interviewed and a lot was done to make sure that people vote. The positive response from the people who participated in public meetings and discussions gave us a sign that India is now aware and ready to take on the politicians. But the Mumbai voter turnout tells an opposite story.

Since after incidents like the 26/11 and the inflation, and the related outrage and anger in people, we were pretty sure that Mumbai elections will be the most interesting ones. But who is at fault? The registered voters who did not vote? Or, someone else?

After the 26/11 the media brought forth celebs in interviews, page 3 people were questioned, small time performers and actors were called in. But in this bid to capture the vox populi, the media forgot the ‘common man‘. The turnout thus proved that the voice of the people interviewed did not represent the voice of the majority.

The turnout this year was not much different than that of last year, so I don’t think we must be shocked. It was just a few points less.

So who is at fault? The media, who showed their programs in a way that we almost believed them, or the people, who did not care to vote (but care to crib). Well, Both are at fault. The media must realise that the celebs are not the voice of the people, the people themselves are. In order to gain TRP’s the media is not catching hold of the real issue.

The people are obviously at fault. They were being looked at and looked upon, but disappointed us all. This was one chance, one good opportunity, one best way to let their voices be heard, but they did not vote. Or did they?

Another version of the poor turnout can be that the Mumbaikars have rejected the cheap politics and want a break. They did not vote because they could not place their trust in anyone. They knew that no matter who comes to power they will not be equipped to fight terrorism simply because the politicians are busy in their cheap politics. They did not vote because maybe they knew that no matter who comes to power, roads, infrastructure, electricity, water and housing will always be a problem, because a solution is what we lack. They did not vote because they do not agree with any ideology and want a change, a complete change. No traditional party, no traditional politician, no communal politics, no divisive games, simply the people. Was this a way to let their voices be heard?

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