Many Mumbaikars to miss voting due to holiday season

Apr 19, 2014, 07:58 IST | Maleeva Rebello

Holiday season, or inability to re-book tickets, family and work commitments will keep a sizeable number of city voters away from the election booth, to their disappointment

With Election Day in Mumbai nearing, April 24 to be precise, polls dates seem to be clashing with personal and work commitments for many voters in the island city.

The Shetty family is headed to Mangalore for a vacation. Pic/Prashant Waydande
The Shetty family is headed to Mangalore for a vacation. Pic/Prashant Waydande

Vacation time
For the Shetty family who lives in Andheri, April end and May have always meant vacation time. Subitha Shetty says, "My older daughter is in the tenth standard and has been studying hard throughout the year, so we are headed to our native place, which is Mangalore for a break. My younger daughter is in the eighth standard and she will also be having holidays."

Llyod Menezes is sad that he cannot vote Vivek Hadkar was hoping to vote for change
Llyod Menezes is sad that he cannot vote and Vivek Hadkar was hoping to vote for change

Her husband Sadanand adds, "We booked tickets two months in advance and during April-May, getting train tickets is difficult. It is summer time and people want a break, so almost everyone heads out of town. With kids on vacation, it is a great time to visit your native place."

That's what Vinayak Bhosle's vote will be
That's what Vinayak Bhosle's vote will be

Talking about the elections and not being in town to vote, Subitha says, "We knew that the elections and vacations would be clashing, but we hoped that Mumbai would go to the polls when we were in town. Sadly, this is not happening.

Eve Aloysius is in France currently and will not be able to vote Ancy George will be in Kerala when the Lok Sabha election happens in Mumbai. Pic/Prashant Waydande
Eve Aloysius is in France currently and will not be able to vote and Ancy George will be in Kerala when the Lok Sabha election happens in Mumbai. Pic/Prashant Waydande

Our votes will be wasted which is unfortunate as we were really looking forward to voting this time. It is sad that elections are at vacation time, which is leading to wastage of votes. Trips out of town are planned much in advance and sadly, it is not possible to re-schedule, as tickets will be unavailable."

Rohit Singh will be away on a trip with friends Albina Mathiah has left for Dubai on a vacation and so will not be able to vote for the first time
Rohit Singh will be away on a trip with friends and Albina Mathiah has left for Dubai on a vacation and so will not be able to vote for the first time

Wedding season
Family weddings are taking the George family to Kerala, their native place around poll time. Ancy George says, "I have my election card and this would have been the first time that I would have voted, but my cousins are getting married.

When we booked our tickets two months ago we knew the elections were there, but were unsure of the date. It is a family wedding and so we have to go.

I was really looking forward to voting. But considering that tickets during holiday season are difficult to get and the weddings are all after Easter, we made plans."

Ojas Thakur, Powai resident has his sister's wedding in Delhi and says, "The wedding was planned two years in advance so we get the hall and caterers.

But the election dates are clashing with that. Most of our relatives live in Delhi and so though we have been in Mumbai for the past five years we will be missing the election here, where we have our voting cards. The Election Commission should have considered the wedding season and vacation period before they released the date."

Online voting
Studies are keeping Priyanka Karia away from voting. Currently, in London, the Borivali resident says, "I wish there was an online voting system so that it's easy for us to vote or even a page over social networking sites such as Facebook where people like us can vote and contribute to India's betterment."

A similar view is echoed by Eve Aloysius, a resident of Borivali who is in France for studies. She says, "I really wanted to vote, but as I am abroad and there is no provisions to cast a vote from a foreign country. My vote will be wasted. I follow the political scenario really closely and it is really sad that many people will be missing out."

First miss
It's work that is taking Mahesh Kadam, an engineer and his office colleagues to Singapore for a conference around April 22.

Kadam says, "We tried re-scheduling so people would be able to vote, but to get tickets and bookings in May is very tough. Many of us will be missing voting for the first time"

Talking about not voting for the first time since she has turned 18, Albina Mathiah who is on vacation in Dubai says, "I have religiously cast my vote since in all the elections that happened since I could vote.

Politics is something I actively follow on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp as well as news websites. My trip was planned in advance and the polls dates were revealed much later and I was unable to change my plans.

Meet the leaders
A doctor by profession, Rohit Singh who lives in Kanjurmarg has been disillusioned by the recent happenings in the world of politics.

The 25-year-old will be headed on a holiday with friends around election time and says, "The political scenario in the country often makes me feel that voting is useless.

The politicians we vote for almost always end up letting us down and it is really sad. I will be missing the polls, but I had decided that I would meet the MP probables from my area and then decide on my vote.

But now that I will not be there, I am not feeling bad because I am not very gung-ho about these elections. Whoever wins, they will not be able to make any significant changes."

Sameer Khan, who lives in Bhandup says, "I have attended the meet ups with the candidates from my area and have spoken to almost all of them about the plans they have for the city.

Sadly, I have an important meeting with my company bosses on April 24, the day of the Mumbai polls and so I will be flying to Kolkata and hence, will not be able to cast my vote.

The Election Commission has done a great job of creating awareness about the polls and I am really feeling bad, I have requested the bosses to reschedule but it seems impossible at the moment."

Every vote counts
Regretting not getting to vote as he is in the UK, Vinayak Bhosle says, "Every vote is important and I know that this Lok Sabha election has a lot of factors involved in it, but sadly I can't vote. I will be missing out on the chance of choosing India's future and that makes me feel sad."

For Samy Patel whose vote will also be among the wasted ones this time around as he is in Switzerland, "An election gives voters a chance to be heard. Sadly in India, the election always happens during holidays.

Trips especially those out of India are planned much in advance, even though elections happening in April-May are known the exact date is not out till like a month before the election.

My vote will be wasted this year which I deeply regret, but I am trying my best to encourage family and friends to vote for a party that is less corrupt than the other two big players in Indian politics."

Lost opportunity
For Lloyd Menezes, a geologist in Abu Dhabi, the inability to exercise his right to vote thanks to work keeping him away is a missed chance.

The 24-year-old says, "I have been keenly following the news and happenings in India, but work commitments are not allowing me the chance to vote this time around.

Plus, the cost to come just to vote is too much; I know my vote is precious but economic and professional factors are making me unable to exercise my duty as a citizen of India."

A chance to correct a mistake made in the last election has been lost feels, Vivek Hadkar who is in the US because of work. Hadkar says, "I have been following the elections on news websites, Social media Twitter and Facebook.

Also, I have spoken to friends and family recently regarding the elections and am a little disappointed that this time; I had the opportunity to correct the mistake I made last time but won't be able to do so."

Absentee options
>> The system of absentee ballot is followed all over the world with various provisions like postal voting - vote by post, proxy voting - authorisng someone else to vote for you and internet voting - voting online.
>> In India, there is no such absentee ballot provision, if someone is out of town they cannot vote.
>> The EC guidelines, though, have some exceptions, like the polling personnel who are on duty in a constituency are entitled to postal ballot.

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