What does Mumbai vote for?
It was election day and I was deputed to watch Mumbai vote in India’s general elections.
I didn’t get to see much.
Barely six months after the city saw its most audacious terrorist attack, Mumbaikars seemed to have forgotten it all, with hardly 41 per cent of the city’s electorate bothering to cast their vote.
Those that did come out to vote said security wasn’t much of an issue, saying the government couldn’t be blamed for it directly. I remember wondering that if an attack as big as 26/11 wasn’t an issue for Mumbaikars, then what was?
The local elections will be different, a friend who covers politics told me. Issues like water, electricity and roads are of more importance, he said.
As always, the Mumbaikar vs non-Mumbaikar issue has been played up by political leaders like Raj Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray.
Both cousins have been fighting it out, hoping to take over the legacy of the one person who is missing from this election — Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, who has not campaigned this time due to health reasons.
While there have been enough campaigns urging Mumbaikars to vote (including by Bollywood celebrities) and certainly enough reasons for them to so, indications so far show that Mumbaikars haven’t really gone out and voted.
I wonder about that. In a city like Mumbai, what is really important? And is it more important than the lure of a four-day weekend and getting away from it all?