Mumbai Voter Turnout

Mumbai voter turnout at 53%; apparently a high… really? For what is known as “Maximum City”, 53% is a dismal number, any time! I am sure there is a good number of registrations that went awry but this is no excuse for a 53% turnout… unless, someone is going to complain that there is a large % of “immigrant” population with no voting rights that makes up the 47% that did not vote… Mumbai meri jaan, exercising one’s right to vote is one of easiest things one can do… I hope I do not have anyone on my friend’s list on FB who was eligible to vote but did not vote without a good reason. smile emoticon Today I remember, my grandfather – no matter how old he had gotten, would get out on Election day to exercise his vote, come rain or shine; I remember when I turned 18 and we both walked together to the poll booth and voted for the local assembly elections. It was an amazing experience – it was one of the most memorable moments in my life – felt grown up, felt like a citizen of a free country, felt like I was making a difference – it felt like an act towards exercising a fundamental human right of liberty and choice – seemed like the right thing to do! No matter what political affiliation one has, how can one miss this opportunity as a member of society? Where are all those Mumbaikars who went all up in arms against the political setup when November 26th happened? Where is the so-called educated, urban, middle class, and socialite/elite class that was rattled when they lost their kith and kin in the Taj bombings? It pains to hear people complain about the politicians and blame them entirely for what’s wrong with the country, when their own “inaction” is wholly responsible for the state of affairs! On the one hand when I visit India, I see a young India, energetic, optimistic and wanting to take charge of their own destiny; it appears to me that there is a rise in political awareness, a sense of urgency in making the elected representatives more accountable and the process more transparent, but turnouts like these counter whatever “illusory momentum” that I have been conjuring up in my mind. Mumbai seems to have resigned to corruption and crony capitalism… the Mumbaikar has become indifferent, and even insensitive to the political process… Mumbai has become comfortably numb!


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