One of Asia’s richest civic bodies goes to poll and the popular expectation is that it will a battle between the BJP and the Shiv Sena. While they swept the BMC election together five years ago, it is battle royal between the two. What’s interesting is that both parties still remain allies at the Centre but here at the local body level they are launching sharp attacks against each other.
BJP on its part is betting big on the development agenda and trying to portray that as the crucial factor that differentiates its poll agenda and depicted the Shiv Sena as the corrupt other half that they are keen to part ways with. Congress, though is betting on the anti-incumbency element, the expectation is BJP is set to gain from any split between the erstwhile colleagues, Shiv Sena and BJP. But overall corruption and petty communal discord has been the primary problems that have been a problem point for the BMC officials.
This has also been seen as a cardinal factor why a major part of Mumbaikars seem to be skipping the polls over the years. Voter turnout for the last two terms have been below the 50% mark. With the state Election Commission spending close to 95 crores for all the voting related arrangement, it needs to be seen if the cost justifies the voter turnout. In that context the demographics in Mumbai throw up a rather interesting proposition.
There are overall 50 lakh male voters and 41 lakh female voters. Every ward on an average has about 42,000 voters per ward. If you go on a community specific analysis, there are 112 wards with majority Marathi and Dalit voters. In about 115 wards, the majority comprises of North Indian, Gujarati and Muslim voters. Till about 2012, this Marathi majority vote bank played a crucial role but the fact that the non-Marathi voter percentage is higher this year could be a crucial game changer in this election.