BMC Elections 2017: Candidates make phone calls, send WhatsApp messages to voters

“Each of our booth managers have been tasked with the job to reach out to 100 families,” said a senior BJP leader from North East Mumbai.

Thane Municipal Corporation , Shiv Sena, EVM, Sukhada Narkar, TMC polls
Around 53 per cent voter turnout was registered till 5.30 pm in TMC polls.(PTI)

Phone calls, private meetings and personal WhatsApp messages were being circulated by a number of candidates on Sunday after the campaign for Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections campaigns were officially over. Poll managers were asked to get a booth-wise voter feedback from local workers. “Each of our booth managers have been tasked with the job to reach out to 100 families,” said a senior BJP leader from North East Mumbai.

As the high-voltage campaigning ended for the Mumbai municipality and other local bodies in the state, party candidates used informal ways to give a personal touch to canvassing to woo voters. Some candidates made personal calls to their electorate asking them have they received their polling slips and have they apprised their election booth number. Some even made calls to urge people to vote for them.

The last minute informal campaigning was required for the parties so that their stronghold electorate come out to vote in big numbers. “In a multi-cornered contest, a few votes can mean the difference between victory and defeat. As reaching out to voters individually is important, we are contacting people over the phone,” said a sitting corporator.

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A contender for a seat in Borivali confirmed that he and his supporters had started holding secret corner meetings inside building premises almost immediately after the campaigning ended at 5.30 pm, in a last-ditch effort to reach voters, Indian Express reported. Election Commission officials had made it clear that vigilance had been intensified to curb use of unethical election practices, including distribution of money, liquor, or use of muscle power to influence voters.

BMC polls are scheduled for February 21 where 10 civic bodies, 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis are going to polls. The state government has declared it a holiday tomorrow. The Election Commission has directed malls, hotels, IT firms to either announce a holiday or at least grant a window of two hours for employees to vote.

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