Maximum city has been accused of minimum voting in yesterday's polling and many of the pointed fingers have been directed at Bollywood. Mumbai saw 53% voter turnout, a dismal showing compared to Delhi, Bangalore and other metro cities. While the voting queues featured some famous faces such as the Bachchans, Shah Rukh and Aamir Khan, Vidya Balan and Ranbir Kapoor, many celebrities had previously exited the city before they could vote, flying out to Tampa Bay, Florida to attend IIFA weekend.
Among those who chose film over franchise was actress-activist Shabana Azmi who explained her absence at the ballot box saying, "I had to make the difficult choice. I support the NGO, Mijwan, which works for the empowerment of the girl child. Mijwan is getting an international platform here by being showcased Manish Malhotra. The work that these women do was getting such a huge boost that I had to be here."
Her husband, lyricist Javed Akhtar, said that given half a chance, he would have emulated son Farhan Akhtar by voting first and leaving for IIFA later. Farhan, who will co-host the award ceremony, took a later flight to USA.
Actors like Abhay Deol and Anupam Kher shied away from questions about why they didn't vote.
On Twitter, actress Priyanka Chopra - who flew to Florida from New York where she was releasing her new single - said she wished she'd been able to vote: So unfortunate when scheduling keeps u away from some of d most important things.wish I could have been in india to exercise my most basic (right) to vote as a citizen kudos to all who did and the others who can make it must.
Support came from an expected quarter in the form of actor Riteish Deshmukh who said, "It's unfortunate but I don't think anyone who is here, doesn't want to vote. It's more about a commitment which was made." Riteish himself had a clean chit, having voted in his hometown of Latur in the previous phase of polling. (Also read: Riteish says we must not blame actors)
Anil Kapoor, also a non-voter unlike daughter Sonam who waited to vote before flying out, said that Indian citizens on the move should be allowed to vote through their embassies or online. (Also read: Anil Kapoor makes Tampa Mayor dance at IIFA)