Voter apathy was evident across the state with an overall 40.77 per cent polling being recorded till 3.30 pm. Though the figures improved through the day they were still nowhere close to what the experts and politicians were expecting this year.
Earlier, voting in all 10 municipal corporations across Maharashtra started off peacefully, with no untoward incident being reported from anywhere in Mumbai or nine other municipal bodies where polling was underway.
A total of 3.5 crore people will elect 1,244 municipal councillors, including 624 women, in Mumbai, Thane, Ulhasnagar, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Nashik, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur municipal corporations.
In Nagpur, polling started on a tardy pace but picked up through the day. An average 42.14 per cent polling was recorded till 3.30 pm. BJP national president Nitin Gadkari accompanied by his wife Kanchan and other family members turned up at a booth in Mahal and exercised their franchise.
In Nashik, voting began this morning for 122 seats in the Municipal Corporation, where 929 candidates are in the fray. The first two hours saw 8-10 per cent polling on a peaceful note at 1253 voting centres. By 3.30 pm it had moved up to 42.20 per cent. The total number of electorate is 1,03,500.
In Amravati, polling began on a slow note and the turnout was very low initially. But by 3.30 pm, it was 43.58%.
Akola saw the biggest turnout with 48.86 per cent of the voters coming out to exercise their right to vote.
In Thane, around 45.45% polling was reported by 3.30 pm. The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has 802 candidates vying for 130 seats from 65 wards in the city.
According to candidate Vidyadhar Thanekar, voting has been peaceful. He said, "Earlier people were afraid to come out and vote because of riots between political parties. Now, things have changed, as candidates here are well educated and do not take to violence or create riots. As a result, more and more people are coming to vote."
Senior citizens are the most enthusiastic group. Smita Yashvant Bagave, a 75-year-old woman, was very keen about voting. She told Mid-day, "I have been voting since 52 years. I never missed any election and I am also encouraging my children to vote."
Interestingly, another candidate Bharat Chavan accompanied 108-year-old woman, Rupela Thakubai Vadhumal personally to the polling vote.
More than 20 platoons of SRPF have been deployed besides over 8,000 police personnel to ensure fair polling for the Thane Municipal Corporation, police said.
(With inputs from Anamika More)
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