When Mumbai scored a half-century on Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday
Keyboard warriors active on social media and conventional media took Mumbai’s case through much of vote day on April 24, but people of the Maximum City swung for the fences in the slog overs to notch up a creditable half-century.
Mumbai’s voter turnout of nearly 53% pales in comparison to the numbers notched up by Delhi and Chennai, but stands out because of its reputation for gettting bogged down on V-Day.
Thursday started giving off vibes that it would be no different for the stereotyped indifferent Mumbai voter.
The city’s favourite son Sachin Tendulkar, however, led front the front on his 41st birthday. He was off to a quick start, sealing two early votes in partnership with wife Anjali.
Then, all the familiar signs were back. At 11am, the turnout score after the first four hours of poll play stood at 15.20%.
For long Mumbai has been known for its spirit, but taken a beating for its temperament on poll days. So much like Rohit Sharma, another outrageously talented Mumbai cricketer who was exasperatingly inconsistent till about a year ago.
Sharma has turned the corner. Here was Mumbai’s chance to move past the indifferent image.
But the same old, same old bogey kept surfacing. In the face of a barrage of bouncers from the media and social media, Mumbai kept consolidating and crept up to 26% turnout at 1pm.
It became clear voting was not to be at T20 pace. There was, however, hope for a Test-style showing in the city with the richest cricketing pedigree in the country.
In the post-lunch session, voters across Mumbai’s six Lok Sabha constituencies began accumulating a score that could, at least, be defendable in the face of familiar criticism.
At 3pm, 40 minutes before conventional tea break on the field, the turnout stood at 35%.
I have voted, have you? A wonderful start to my birthday, as a responsible citizen of our great nation. pic.twitter.com/RXAtisMwqq
— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) April 24, 2014
News of stars from celeb city being in US for an event and not being there to vote gained traction. But many of the big guns of Hindi cinema were very much around and playing for Mumbai.
Meenakshi, this sportoholic’s colleague and a Mumbaikar, was subjected to usual criticism over her city voting in slow motion. She snapped and exercised her right as a Mumbaikar to fume at “my city, my people”.
Little did Meenakshi’s tormentors, this sportoholic included, know Mumbai had assessed the pitch and was opening up!
Voter action picked up in the final stretch, boundaries were being hit and pushed as well. Mumbaikars queued up and got inked in this post-tea session to score a half-century and then some.
A turnout of nearly 53% does not shatter any national, or even, state record, but is respectable and encouraging. It is the highest in more than two decades and over 11% more than in 2009.
For this sportoholic, the player of the match is the Mumbai voter. To know about politicians who won and lost, keep your date with May 16.
Be a sport. Keep playing.