Mumbai, April 24 - Filmstars, 111-year-olds, and even hospitalised people riding ambulances took part in the democratic exercise in Mumbai and nearby areas Thursday.
Bollywood and Marathi celebs
Mumbaikars did not miss a chance to catch a glimpse of their favourite Bollywood and Marathi filmstars as they came out to cast their votes. At polling stations where celebrities were expected - like in Bandra, Khar, Santacruz, Vile Parle, Andheri, Oshiwara - the crowds were unusually high.
On their part, even the reserved film stars were more down-to-earth, and smiled and interacted with their fans and the hordes of media persons. The celebs also urged people to come out and exercise their national duty by voting.
Names missing again from electoral rolls
Many Mumbaikars were apprehensive of their names going 'missing' from electoral rolls. But top businessman Deepak Parekh least expected he would be part of drop-outs.
A visibly irritated Parekh said that when he learnt of the faux pas, he tried his level best to cast his vote, he carried his passport and other documents, but to no avail.
Bollywood actors Bharat Dabholkar and Atul Kulkarni also discovered they were 'missing' in the electoral rolls and could not vote.
Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar flew down from Dubai to cast his vote along with wife Anjali.
Large turnout of Muslim voters
Large turnout of Muslim voters was seen in minority-dominated pockets of Mumbai like Borivli, Kandivli, Malad, Jogeshwari, Andheri, Santacruz, Bandra, Mahim, Mumbai Central, Mazgaon, Kurla, Mankhurd, Byculla, Nagpada and Colaba.
A 111-year-old woman, Mariambi, accompanied by her 40-year-old grandson came to vote in Khar and said she wanted to vote even in the next polls!
Wheelchair and ambulance
An 84-year-old ailing Fatimabi Abdul Quadir was brought down the stairs from her fourth-floor apartment in Nagpada on a chair, and then taken in a wheelchair to vote at a nearby polling station. She said this could be the last time she would vote but wanted to die peacefully without any communal divide affecting the country's future.
Anita Manjrekar, who is undergoing treatment at KEM Hospital, also expressed a desire to vote. Hospital authorities and her family arranged an ambulance for her to Dharavi where she voted at a polling station at the SSL School there.
There was a power breakdown at a couple of polling stations in Thane in the afternoon. No problem. Polling officials wasted no time, ordered some candles and voting continued without a break!
Youngsters, especially first-time voters, appeared to be the most excited at all polling stations. Not only did they eagerly wait in long queues, but came out laughing with joy after casting their first vote, hugged their friends and relatives and proudly displayed their ink-marked fingers!
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