Industry leaders beeline polling stations in Mumbai to vote for a stable government, development

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Indian industry leaders, including executives from iconic business houses like Tatas, Ambanis and Birlas, cast their votes in the financial capital Mumbai on Monday in the fifth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. The six Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai were in thirteen constituencies that voted in the fifth and final phase of the Maharashtra elections.

Key issues of development, good governance and the need to accelerate economic growth influenced the voting choices of business leaders as they exercised their constitutional right at polling booths across the metropolis. Industry veteran Deepak Parekh highlighted challenges such as long wait times at polling booths, noting that delays in the sweltering heat could deter voters from casting their votes.

Polling stations in posh areas of south Mumbai saw early queues, with Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran among the first leaders of India Inc to vote. Elections for Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai started at 7 am. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das reached a polling station and voted with family members at a school near his official residence in South Mumbai. Czar and billionaire Mukesh Ambani reached the same voting center later in the evening with his wife Nita and son Akash.

Noted industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla shared his excitement with reporters, noting that his 19-year-old younger daughter, Advaitesha, cast her vote for the first time alongside him and her elder sister, Ananya.

With Mumbai known for voter apathy, many industry leaders urged voters to elect their Lok Sabha representatives in large numbers. Billionaire founder of online beauty portal Nykaa, Falguni Nayar, emphasized that voting is both a right and a duty and listed several quality of life issues that affected her vote.

“The problems have more to do with what I call quality of life, healthier living, better quality water, better healthcare facilities, better transportation services and better air quality. I urge the new government to focus on this,” she said.

Ananya Birla, who runs one of the country’s largest microlenders, said the candidates’ educational qualifications, economic policies and historical records influenced her vote choice. However, for many industry leaders, stable government, development and economic growth were the key factors determining their voting decisions.

Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra identified ‘governance and its outcomes’ as the key issue, adding that good governance improves the quality of life for all. Banker Parekh echoed this sentiment and emphasized the need for stability and good leadership at the Centre.

“We need stability, we need good leadership at the Centre, we have had that for the last ten years. We hope that whichever party is chosen, there will be stability,” he said. Parekh also emphasized the importance of rapid growth and stated, “India’s growth should be at a rate twice that of the world.”

Industrialist Niraj Bajaj emphasized the need to support the poor as an important aspect of policymaking, and candidly admitted that measures for the industry or the affluent are less important. “What is important is what is good for India, for India’s poor. Personal well-being is not that important right now,” he said.

Industrialist Anil Ambani, who is facing numerous business challenges, also cast his vote early in the day. Despite concerns over waiting times and queues, Das, a career bureaucrat turned central banker, spoke about the logistical efforts involved in the elections and thanked the polling agents for ensuring a successful process.

Nayar noted that awareness among voters is high, but cautioned against being motivated solely by the outcome. “People want to vote where they think they can make a difference. But it’s also important to vote, even if you don’t think it will change the outcome,” she said.

(With PTI inputs)