Posted in Journalism, Social Issues, Uncategorized

Why this is the only chance to choose?

letusvoteAll major political parties are contesting the elections for the Mumbai’s civic body separately, for the first time in more than two decades. With the split between the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the absence of alliance between the Congress and the National Congress Party (NCP), Mumbai anxiously awaits in anticipation of who would make  it to the power corridors of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). What this could mean is many candidates may win with narrow margins, making it all the more important for you to cast your vote.

Casting a vote is not a choice but an indispensable responsibility. The only choice is to choose wisely and vote for a better tomorrow.  Apart for voting being a responsibility, it is our ability, ability to decide what is right or what is wrong for ourselves, the society and the city. Making this choice is our only chance to nurture change. As the election day is nearing, we have to bear this thought in our minds that this a chance to choose for change, the change we all want and are waiting for.

This reminds me of a quote from the fantasy novel series, Harry Potter, ” It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”.

Following a massive voters induction drive in 2016, 2.39 lakh new voters registered themselves in Mumbai, taking the count to 91,80,635, out of a population of 1.24 crore. But while more than 70 per cent of the citizens are registered voters, turnouts in Mumbai have remained poor over the years, not crossing even the 50 per cent mark.

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The voter turnout is an important factor to decide who will run the BMC. The State Election Commission (SEC) and BMC are leaving no stone unturned to spread awareness.

The government has directed all private firms, IT companies, shops, shopping malls etc to declare election days as paid holidays for all employees, in an attempt to increase voter turnout for the upcoming elections.

Offering ‘ethical incentives’, the SEC is also roping in hotels, restaurants and shopping malls to offer discounts to those who cast their vote. Apart from engaging with more than 100 colleges, the SEC, is running campaigns on social media and reaching out to housing societies. Various NGOs are also running campaigns to increase voter awareness.

A total of 2,275 candidates, which include 1,190 males, 1,084 females and one transgender, are to fight for the 227 seats of the BMC. The elections are to be held on February 21, 2017. And the results will be announced on February 23, 2017.

Shiv Sena is the only party which has fielded candidates on all the 227 seats across the metropolis, while Congress on 221, BJP will fight it out on 195 (leaving 32 seats for its allies), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on 201, NCP on 171, BSP on 109, Samajwadi Party on 76 followed by first-timers Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) on 56 seats. There are 13 political parties that will compete to administer the country’s richest civic body, according to the final list released by the electoral department of the BMC.

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