BMC Election 2017: Dharavi votes for change

Crowd at Dharavi, during Bmc election on 21st February 2017

Around 65% voters turned up to vote for India’s biggest and richest municipal corporation BMC in the world’s largest slum, Dharavi ward no 176 G/N (Transist Camp) on 21 February 2017.

The first voter entered the polling booth at 6.47 am, slowly the number increased by afternoon 12.30 pm till 4.15 pm. The entire area was filled with people, few members from different parties had gathered to assist voters and the Mumbai Police had surrounded the entire area to maintain law and order. The Municipal school in Transist Camp was the polling center for the entire area.

“From 7.30 in the morning, I’m standing in the queue nobody is assisting us, see there is such a big queue, ‘’ says Fatima. Inside the polling center, there was lack of assistance by the election officers and other members, while the Mumbai Police managed to controlled the crowd and maintain peace. Confusion and chaos had generated, due to lack of officer to aid the voters at 1.30 pm.

“ I have come hoping for a change, that at least our kids should get good education. A few initiatives were taken by the BMC in last 2 years, “ said Ratan Patel.

Around 2.35 pm the entire scenario turned complicated , as a few members were caught forcing voters to elect the Congress candidate. These members were forcefully evacuated by the Police officers on duty.

“This is how the National Party members do corruption in our area, the Police are also scared of them. They don’t take action, so we don’t want any Nationalist Party to win. We want independent candidates to be elected,” says Jolly Stalin.

There were 8 booth in the centre, with one or two Police officer at the entrance and few independent candidates were seen assisting some senior citizens after 3.00pm who were unable to stand.

“Despite narrow, crowded and dirty road, we have come to vote so that the some initiative will be taken regarding the gutter water that over flows and enters our house, “ said Shaikh Mohammad Imran.

All the shops in this area were open, no commercial or private sector was closed in Dharavi.

According to a recent report, There are 17 candidates contesting from Ward №176 in the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections. They include contenders from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Indian National Congress, National Congress Party and Shivsena.

ADR has analysed affidavits submitted by 8 candidates in this ward. Together, they have 6 criminal cases against them. Of the 8 affidavits analysed, on average, the candidates from Ward №176 own ₹67 lakh in net assets.

Anusha R. Kodam Shiv Sena, got 8937 votes in 2012 corporation election, beat Congress candidate Mane Ganga Kunal.

Controlled by the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for four terms, the BMC has a budget of Rs 37,052 crore for the current year (2016–17) catering to a population of around 18.30 million. This is the first time that the fate of a state government could rest on the outcome of a municipal election, given the bitterness that emerged between the BJP and Shiv Sena

Besides Mumbai, nine other civic bodies — Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur — went for polls on Tuesday. Overall, an electorate of 3.77 crore has put the seal on the fate of 17,331 candidates for 5,512 seats, including 1,268 in 10 municipal corporations, 2,956 in 11 Zilla Parishads and 1,288 seats in 118 Panchayat Samitis in the second and final phase of the polling. The results will be declared on Thursday.