New Delhi: Weekends and holidays usually work as a footfall booster in malls and cinema halls, but a significant transformation was seen in Delhiites` outlook Wednesday. With record voting in the Assembly polls, they have proved that exercising their franchise is more important than leisure activities.
Election Commission said there was a record turnout of 66 percent as of 5.30 p.m. and is likely to touch 70 percent.
The first assembly polls in 1993 saw a 61.75 percent turnout, the highest record until Wednesday`s. In the 2008, it dropped to 57.58 percent.
The majority of people in the city of 16 million decided to shun shopping and movie watching to cast their vote.
With the city malls like DLF Place, Saket and Ambience mall in Vasant Kunj remaining closed due to the election, Delhiites had options like Ansal Plaza in Vaishali and Shipra Mall located at Indirapuram.
"Shipra mall is open and is seeing no major change from usual days. People are coming like any other normal day," said Arvind Singh, a security guard at the mall.
A staff member at Pacific mall in West Delhi too had the same experience to share.
He said that “most shops are closed due to voting”, and there is hardly anyone visiting the ones that are open.
The Great India Place (GIP) in Noida, said to be one of the largest in the country, didn`t see any major change either.
“There is no major difference as far as turnout is concerned. Election in Delhi has no major effect on GIP,” said a staff member.
However, there was an impressive rush at the Adventure Island in Rohini.
“We are getting a number of calls since morning asking whether we are open today or not. The footfall is good,” Mohit Sawhney, general manager, Unitech Amusement Park limited, told a news agency.
“We have increased the time limit of rides till 8 p.m today (Wednesday),” he said and added the usually the first half sees hundred few entering the venue, “but today there were more than 1,000. We also offered 30 percent discount to those who showed voting mark. This we are doing till coming Friday.”
But that is it!
Gurgaon, which is on its way to rapid urbanisation, thanks to leading multinational corporations and increased number of shopping malls, saw a marginal increase in footfall.
Sandeep Dutta, general manager of Ambience mall, said that mall caters to Gurgaon crowd and that “there was a marginal increase in the number of shoppers.”
The same can be said about movie hall as PVR spokesperson said: "Delhi elections hasn`t affected the number of moviegoers."