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OPINION | A QUESTION FOR MR. SHARAD PAWAR

The Election Commission announced on Tuesday that 54.33 per cent polling was recorded. This includes an average turnout of 52.27 per cent of voters in Mumbai.

Written By: Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive New Delhi Updated on: May 21, 2024 14:37 IST
India TV Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma
Image Source : INDIA TV India TV Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma

Braving hot weather, voters on Monday in 13 constituencies of Maharashtra including six in Mumbai, came out to cast their vote. The Election Commission announced on Tuesday that 54.33 per cent polling was recorded. This includes an average turnout of 52.27 per cent of voters in Mumbai. With this, polling for all 48 Maharashtra LS seats has been completed and leaders of parties have begun making their calculations about probable wins or defeats. Dindori in Nashik recorded the highest at 62.66 per cent, while Kalyan recorded the lowest at 47.08 per cent. 

Top film stars Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, Suneil Shetty and others went to polling booths to exercise their franchise, but the fact remains that nearly half of the voters in Mumbai did not vote. There were reports of malfunctioning of electronic voting machines at some booths and they were immediately replaced. The Election Commission extended polling time by one hour as large number of voters lined up to vote towards the end. Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray alleged that most of the EVMs were found faulty in areas dominated by supporters of Maha Vikas Aghadi. He alleged a "BJP conspiracy" and threatened to go to courts. 

On Monday, Nationalist Congress Party founder Sharad Pawar claimed that Maharashtra results this time would be surprising. In an interview with India TV, Sharad Pawar claimed that Maha Vikas Aghadi would win nearly half of the total 48 LS seats. In the 2019 elections, the BJP-led NDA had won 42 out of 48 seats. Five years ago, NDA had won all the 13 constituencies that went to the polls on Monday. Sharad Pawar is, however, confident. He said, "I will not be surprised if we get 40 to 50 per cent this time . Modi Ji has not done any work here in the last five years. These people (BJP) think they will get votes in the name of Modi, but this is not the case. It is true that Modi toiled hard this time during electioneering, which cannot be overlooked, but the image and support that he commanded five years ago, is now totally missing." Pawar clearly indicated that MVA would win at least 24 LS seats in Maharashtra this time. 

Even if one agrees with Pawar's view for a minute that Modi's popularity has waned, Pawar Sahib must say, whose popularity has gone up?  Pawar Sahib? His nephew left him and his party in the lurch.  Rahul Gandhi? He went around Raebareli today during polling, to hide his uneasiness. Lalu Yadav?  He was ditched by Nitish Kumar. Mamata Banerjee? She opted to stay out of the INDI alliance. Or, Kejriwal? He is presently on interim bail till June 1. It is easy to say that Modi is not getting the level of support that he used to get earlier, but it is difficult to say, who is getting popular support to fill up the space. The truth is: Pawar Sahib himself knows, other leaders lack colour in the face of Modi's strenuous toil.

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