Mumbai: Mumbaikars today shed some of their infamous polling-day sloth with 53 per cent turning up to vote in the six constituencies of the city in the third and last phase of Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra. Overall, around 56 per cent of 3.18 crore voters exercised their franchise to decide the fate of 338 candidates in 19 seats across Maharashtra, including Union Minister Milind Deora, sitting MPs Priya Dutt and Sanjay Nirupam of Congress, social activist Medha Patkar and ministers in Prithviraj Chavan government Chhagan Bhujbal and Sunil Tatkare. The turnout in Mumbai saw a significant improvement from the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when only 41.43 per cent electorate exercised their franchise.
The Maximum City appeared ready to cast off its poll-day apathy since early morning with Bollywood celebrities and industry captains turning up at polling stations. As the day wore on and temperature rose, queues dwindled to a trickle. But voting picked up momentum towards the evening. Celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Dharmendra, Rekha, Vidya Balan, Sunny Deol, Sonam Kapoor, and Prasoon Joshi cast their votes; so did Adi Godrej, Anil Ambani, SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya among others.
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar cast his vote along with wife Anjali around noon at a polling booth near their residence in suburban Bandra. The sports legend posted a selfie showing his inked finger on Twitter and said, "I have voted..Have U? A wonderful start to my birthday as a responsible citizen of our great nation." "It's my responsibility to vote.
To point fingers at others and (if) I face a problem, I need to have this on my finger," Balan said displaying her inked finger outside a booth in suburban Chembur.
Actor Aamir Khan, who voted in suburban Bandra, said, "Voting is an important process in democracy. It is my duty as an Indian to vote." Actress Sonam Kapoor, who was among early-morning voters, said, "It is good to vote for those who make legitimate promises."
Among corporates, Anil Ambani walked into a polling booth at upscale Cuffe Parade locality, not far from his residence 'Sea Wind'. However, many Bollywood celebrities including Anupam Kher, whose wife Kirron is BJP nominee from Chandigarh, script writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar and his actress wife Shabana Azmi, known for their activism, kept away. So did Sonakshi Sinha, daughter of yesteryear actor-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha, who is locked in an electoral tussle to retain his Patna Saheb seat.
Actor couple Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan, besides Deepika Padukone too gave the polls a miss. All these actors were said to be attending IIFA awards in the US.