India General Elections 2024: Thane sees lacklustre turnout, voters decry poor management, fraud

21 May,2024 07:00 AM IST |  Thane  |  Faisal Tandel

Kalyan Lok Sabha constituency records lowest polling percentage—41.70 per cent—at 5 pm

A voter at a Pink Booth or Sakhi Matadan Kendra in Thane

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The Kalyan, Bhiwandi and Thane seats saw low voter turnout, less than 50 per cent, till 5 pm on Monday. A Thane resident, Bharat Bovale, alleged that a bogus vote had been cast in his name, prompting him to cast a tendered vote to exercise his franchise. The issue was highlighted by Rajan Vichare, the Shiv Sena (UBT) candidate and incumbent MP from Thane, who encouraged residents to utilise the tender voting system to avoid similar inconveniences.

Bovale, a resident of Joshiwada in Charai, Thane, said, "I went to St John's Convent High School to cast my vote. When my number came, I noticed that my name had already been ticked. When I questioned the polling agent about this, they informed someone had already put a vote in my name. The Aadhaar card number of the person in question didn't match mine. Are they verifying names and details or are people being allowed to indulge in bogus voting? After complaining about the matter, I had to wait for more than 45 minutes. After arguing, they allowed me to vote but via ballot paper, not the EVM," said Bovale, who appealed to citizens to go out and vote lest someone else vote in their names.

The CM cast his vote at the Neptune Element IT Park polling booth at Wagle Estate, Thane, on Monday. Pics/Satej Shinde

Vichare appealed to citizens to cast a tendered vote should such situations arise. "If bogus voting occurs, people should check with the polling agent. Then fill form no. 17 and cast a tendered vote instead of not voting at all," he said.

As per data shared by the ECI, the Thane, Kalyan and Bhiwandi Lok Sabha constituencies witnessed around 45.38 per cent, 41.70 per cent and 48.89 per cent voter turnout respectively at 5 pm.

mid-day visited polling booths at St John's Convent High School and the TMC Marathi School at Mumbra both of which were crowded. Electors said that the process was taking a lot of time. NCP (SP) MLA Jitendra Awhad alleged that polling officers were deliberately slowing down voting. He also alleged that every voter was taking at least five minutes to register their vote.

In Mumbra, voters had to wait a while before they could pick their candidate, with some people standing in queues for over two hours. After polling officers received complaints, the process picked up pace. Election officers should have managed everything properly as voters had to stand in queues for hours in the scorching heat. There were no proper arrangements, which led to confusion. After complaints were made and locals intervened, things got moving," a Mumbra resident said.

Additional Assistant Electoral Officer Sandeep Thorat admitted that there were queues at Mumbra's polling booths, but said the voting process was smooth.

CM casts vote

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde visited the polling station at Neptune Element IT Park in Wagle Estate, Thane on Monday morning to cast his vote. He was accompanied by his father Sambhaji Shinde, wife Lata Shinde, son Dr Shrikant Shinde - who is contesting the general election from the Kalyan constituency - and daughter-in-law Vrushali. After exercising his franchise, the CM spoke to the media. Shinde appealed to the voters to vote for a healthy democracy and to take this important step towards making the country a superpower.

With inputs from Sameer Surve

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