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Maharashtra elections: Resident groups, societies take lead to boost voter turnout

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The Times Of India
21st October, 2019 07:16 IST

MUMBAI: From helping residents to locate their polling centres to keeping vehicles ready to ferry senior citizens and the differently abled to their booths, residents' associati- ons and housing societies are undertaking various initiatives to ensure a better voter turnout on Monday. While housing societies, like Kinjal Housing Society in Malabar Hill are planning get-togethers and tea parties to keep the flock together on V-day, hoteliers say they are persuading guests to check out by Sunday evening so that they can get home to cast their votes on Monday.

"We are not promoting stays in hotels on Monday," says Pradeep Shetty, vice-president of Hotels and Restaurants Association Western India, which has over 2,000 hotels as members. Several restaurants and bars will offer discounts to patrons who show their inked fingers on V-Day, he added.

Madhu Poplai, secretary of Pali Hill Residents Association, said the Election Commission had put up banners in their area calling out to people to cast their vote. "They have been placed at strategic locations ...We are also keeping cars ready if any senior citizens need help to reach their booths." .

Anandini Thakoor, trustee, Khar Residents Association, said: "We help residents find their names on the electoral rolls and locate their booths so that they do waste time looking for the same."

A few resident associations, like Nariman Point Churchgate Citizens Association (NPCCA) and Oval Cooperage Residents Association, had held a 'Meet your Candidate' session to help residents make an informed choice.

It was a 'positive' meet, Atul Kumar from NPCCA said, because when residents know the candidates in the fray, they are more likely to vote.

The Hillside Residents Welfare Association, which had fought a legal battle for residents of Mulund, Nahur and Bhandup on the forest land case, is now making efforts to create voter awareness through its members spread across 110 buildings, said Prakash Padikkal of the association.

Anmol Bhushan of NGO People's Power of Nation, which had also petitioned to save the forest land, said: "You don't vote for a candidate or party, you are voting for the nation. It is your fundamental right."

Shivaji Tekale, president of the Joggers Association in the eastern suburbs, said nearly 600 members will interact with people in parks and on roads early Monday and remind them to cast their vote.

Special wheelchairs that can ride the stairs have also been arranged by V Citizens Action Network at polling booths where EVMs are located on the first floor, said VCAN chairman Indrani Malkani.

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