Sunday, February 26, 2012

MCGM Election Results: NOTAP beats AOPPT

I know this is a trifle late, but I was away and could not find time to write. Here I am putting down some thoughts on the results of the just concluded MCGM elections.

Firstly, that even before the counting had begun, the real results of the elections were clear. More people opted for the “NOTA Party” (None Of The Above Party) than “AOPPT” (All Other Parties Put Together). The city recorded average voter turnout of around 45 % with the highest voting percentage in any constituency at  49.50 %. Not a single constituency had more than 50 % people going out to vote.

This has been interpreted by many as “voter apathy”. “……Mumbaikars have lost the right to complain……”, “…….Mumbaikars just don’t care……” and so on. Some also commented on the turnout  being lower in the affluent areas of the city than the less affluent. I even heard one “expert" say on T.V. that Mumbaikars have so much money that they spend half their time abroad, and so it doesn’t matter to them who governs MCGM.  Nothing can be farther from truth! 

There should be no mistaking the fact that the real reason for low voter turnout was that there were no  worthwhile candidates to vote for! It is an outright rejection of all candidates who contested the elections. This should be an eye opener for all the parties contesting the polls, and especially for whoever is in the opposition. If you want to dislodge a ruling party, you need to provide a worthy alternative. If you cannot even create a glimmer of hope in the minds of the voter, he is not going to waste his holiday! This is the message from the Mumbai elections. I am not justifying this approach, in fact I believe everyone must vote (see the previous blogpost here), but there is no doubt that this is the message the people have given.

I also find the “affluent people don’t care” theory a little difficult to digest. True, voter turnout in areas such as Malabar Hill, Peddar Road and Juhu have been shown to be lower than some of the slums and lower income areas. But using the same statistics, one can say that voting percentage was lower in the educated sections of the society, than the less educated. Liquor bottles and chicken biryani cannot be used to bring the Juhu voter out of his home, though it may work in the slums of Cheetah Camp or Kanjurmarg.

Some have observed that the Marathi dominated areas have shown higher voter turnouts than non-Marathi speaking areas. This once again shows the importance of having an “alternative”. The disgruntled (with the present governance) Marathi manoos perhaps found hope in Raj Thackeray’s MNS but the non-Maharashtrians had no one to look up to. Interestingly, the Congress propped up MNS in its early years in the hope that it (MNS) will finish the Shiv Sena, but the MNS seemed to have gained at the cost of Congress itself. While the MNS gained substantially in the elections, the Sena did not lose much. It is the Congress whose strength has come down from 71 to 51.

This is the real story of Mumbai elections - a fit case for Rule 49 – O! (Right to Reject all candidates).


  1. Right to reject all candidates would be like right to say "pass" in a game of chess. It is a losers way of refusing to concede defeat. It will not achieve anything. Voters MUST select who they think is the "least evil" among all the candidates .... my two cents.

    1. A framework for "whom to vote" has been given in the previous article (see "Voting rules for the elections" dated 14th February 2012) which suggests precisely this - voting for the least evil. The present article seeks to analyse the reasons for low voter turnout in this election. The Right to Reject is suggested as an additional option. It takes away an alibi from those who do not vote, even for the least evil.