49.9 per cent turnout in Mumbai, weekend holiday bookings spike

Neeraj Tiwari
People stand in queue to cast their votes at a polling center in Mumbai.

The polling percentage in Mumbai was 49.90, according to the provisional figures released by the Election Commission of India (ECI). Even as many private companies gave their employees a day off on Monday to enable them to cast their votes, half the registered voters stayed away from polling booths. Travel agents claimed there was an increase in bookings for getaways to Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala, Alibaug and Pen. They said this increase was up to 30 per cent, as many people from Mumbai took long weekends.

As per travel website Yatra.com, the bookings from Mumbai for this weekend increased by 23 per cent. Sharat Dhall, COO, said, “In my opinion, people have travelled to Mumbai to cast their vote. Many travellers have also planned a trip in a way that it allows them to return to Mumbai by Monday morning to cast votes.”

However, accounting for the holiday on Monday, many left the city on Friday evening. Regional travel agents have also seen a spike in bookings over the last weekend. Kurla-based Deepak Travels recorded 5,000 more bookings than usual for this weekend for destinations like Shirdi and Nashik.

Shravani Sahay (29), resident of Malad (West) went to Indore with her family to visit the Shiva temple in Omkareshwar, as well as Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. “Monday is Lord Shiva’s day and I wanted to visit these places...This election, there was no enthusiasm from parties apart from the BJP,” she said.

Nallasopara resident and taxi driver Bhupendra Mishra went to Amethi with his wife. He said, “Nowadays, election candidates are not worth voting for, and most of us...are fed up with new policies. The government made permit registration online, without realising that we are not internet users and didn’t do anything to control private car services like Ola.”

Seventy-year-old Ram Bihari, who cast his vote in Belapur, said, “The younger generation has no sense of responsibility. My own family members have gone on vacation. But I have always voted.”