From Dharmendra, Aamir Khan, to Deepika-Ranveer, Bollywood stars turn out in droves for Lok Sabha polls

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], May 20 (ANI): As the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections took place today, Mumbai saw an influx of celebrity voters showcasing their inked fingers as a mark of their civic participation.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, a wave of enthusiasm swept through as renowned figures from the Indian film industry stepped out to exercise their franchise during the first half of the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha Elections.

The celebrity voters to the polling booths included iconic personalities such as Aamir Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty, Shilpa Shetty, R Madhavan, Hrithik Roshan, and Akshay Kumar, among others.

Aamir Khan, accompanied by his ex-wife Kiran Rao, emphasized the significance of voting, stating, “I just want to appeal to the people to come out and cast their votes. Do not waste your votes. It is our responsibility to cast our votes.”

Hrithik Roshan, joined by his family, echoed similar sentiments, stressing the importance of informed decision-making. “Study the candidates before you vote, know what you are voting for,” he urged, underscoring the essence of thorough research in the electoral process.

The electoral fervour reached its pinnacle with the arrival of veteran actors like Dharmendra, Rekha, Paresh Rawal, and Anupam Kher, who added gravitas to the polling atmosphere.

Anupam Kher described Election Day as the “festival of democracy,” urging citizens to exercise their right to vote.

“Today is the festival of democracy, and we should come out and vote to elect our government for the next five years,” Kher said to ANI.

Paresh Rawal, advocating for stringent measures to encourage voter turnout, suggested penalties for abstainers. “There should be some provisions for those who don’t vote, like an increase in tax or some other punishment,” he asserted, emphasizing individual accountability in shaping the nation’s destiny.

Actor and BJP candidate Hema Malini also arrived at a polling station with her daughter Eesha Deol.

Additionally, power couple and soon-to-be parents Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh made a significant appearance, arriving hand in hand to cast their votes.

Their presence, alongside other star couples like Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan, served as a poignant reminder of the importance of collective participation in the electoral process.

The mosaic of celebrity voters extended beyond the realms of traditional cinema, encompassing personalities from various genres, including lyricist Javed Akhtar, actor Shabana Azmi, and director Karan Johar, among others.

The list of star voters continued with actors, Emraan Hashmi, Vidya Balan, Shahid Kapoor, Sanya Malhotra, RajKummar Rao, Janhvi Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Malaika Arora, among others, who were seen at their respective polling booths.

Their participation not only drew media attention but also served to encourage their fans and the general public to exercise their right to vote.

Amidst this star-studded spectacle, Mumbai, with its six pivotal constituencies, emerged as the focal point of electoral activity in Maharashtra.

The six key constituencies in Mumbai include Mumbai North, Mumbai North West, Mumbai North East, Mumbai North Central, Mumbai South, and Mumbai South Central.

Other constituencies in Maharashtra participating today are Dhule, Dindori, Nashik, Kalyan, Palghar, Bhiwandi, and Thane.

With Maharashtra holding 48 Lok Sabha seats, it is the second-largest state in terms of parliamentary constituencies, following Uttar Pradesh.

The 2024 Lok Sabha elections are spread across seven phases, starting from April 19 and concluding on June 1.

The counting of votes and the declaration of results are scheduled for June 4.

Polling began at 7 am and will continue until 6 pm, with provisions to allow voters in line by the closing time to cast their ballots.

According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), over 8.95 crore voters, comprising 4.69 crore males, 4.26 crore females, and 5409 third-gender electors, are set to determine the fate of 695 candidates in this crucial phase.

The fifth phase is marked by significant contests in various constituencies, featuring notable leaders such as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, BJP stalwarts Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, and Piyush Goyal, among others.

This phase includes eight states and Union Territories (UTs): Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. Among the 49 seats up for grabs, 14 are from Uttar Pradesh, 13 from Maharashtra, 7 from West Bengal, 5 from Bihar, 3 from Jharkhand, 5 from Odisha, and one each from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

To ensure a smooth and secure voting process, the Election Commission has deployed 2,000 flying squads, 2105 static surveillance teams, 881 video surveillance teams, and 502 video viewing teams, maintaining vigilance across 94,732 polling stations.