Mumbai (The Hindu): The first-ever elections to the Panvel City Municipal Corporation (PCMC) witnessed a turnout of 55% on Wednesday with over 2.33 lakh residents casting their vote.
The maximum turnout of 84% was registered in Ward 1 and the minimum (41%) in Ward 4. The results will be declared on May 26. Voters in the rural areas of Panvel turned out in large numbers to vote. Deputy Commissioner Mangesh Chitale said, “The reason why many urbanites don’t turn up to vote is because most of them are not localites. The rural population consists of localites who are involved in politics.”
The lucky 100
To encourage maximum turnout, PCMC Commissioner Rajendra Nimbalkar had announced a 25% reduction in property tax for for 100 lucky voters. They just had to take a selfie after getting inked and send it to a mobile number provided by the PCMC. The excitement was palpable among voters as most of them clicked selfies after casting the ballot. A total of 413 selfies were clicked. The 100 winners will be selected through lucky draw on May 30.
Yuvraj Mhatre from Kothari village in Taloja, voted just before his wedding on Wednesday. He appeared in the groom’s attire to vote so that he could later rush to the pandal. Mr. Mhatre said, “He said, I wasn’t sure if I should vote or not as I was getting married on the same day. But my family members insisted that I vote as I had to fulfill my duty as a responsible citizen.
“I arrived in the groom’s attire because I was not sure how much time the whole process would take. I did not wish to waste time getting ready for the wedding after casting my vote. Whoever wins, I hope they bring development to the city and maintain peace.”
Voting started at around 7.30 a.m. and within three hours 15% of voters has exercised their franchise. Till 12.30 p.m. around 28% has cast their votes. The voters were down to a trickle in the afternoon owing to the extreme heat. By evening, the numbers began to pick up again. While no untoward incidents were reported, the EVM machine at Dhansar village in Taloja (Ward 1) developed a glitch after a folding table fell on the wire of the machine.
Mr. Chitale said, “Within 30 minutes we repaired the machine and it did not cause any major inconvenience. The wire was damaged after a table fell on it. Our technical team soon began work to fix it.”
The PCMC comprises Panvel city and 29 villages and has a total population of 5.09 lakh, with around 4.25 lakh voters. The election was held for 78 seats in 20 wards. Eight wards have to elect four candidates each, while two wards will elect three candidates each.
A total of 418 candidates were in the fray. To ensure safe and peaceful voting, Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale deployed one Deputy Commissioner of Police, two Assistant Commissioners of Police, 29 Police Inspectors,154 Assistant Police Inspectors and Police Sub-Inspectors, 1,304 staff members along with two platoons of the headquarters striking force, one Riot Control Force and one platoon of the State Reserve Police Force with 47 vehicles.
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