Candidates take the road less travelled as curtains fall on campaigning

Sanjay Nirupam Congress candidate from  North Mumbai

He led a rally, comprising more than 100 motorcycles and four-wheelers, through Kandivali and Borivali between 11 am and  4 pm.

Waving to the passerbys and smiling all the while, Nirupam travelled on a modified vehicle while party workers and supporters trailed him on bikes. “I am confident I am winning this election. The opposition has tried to cut my votes, but I am sure people will be in my favour as I have worked not like an MP, but like a social worker,” said Nirupam. The rally progressed through the Western Express Highway towards Dahisar, Borivali east railway station road and further suburbs. Making a full round of Dahisar and Borivali, the rally ended at the party’s office at Kora Kendra on SV Road at Borivali west, where a lunch of pulav and beans gravy was ready. Nirupam had lunch at 4 pm and went to his cabin to rest. Later, Nirupam strategised with his party members for hours.     — Megha Sood

Sanjay Dina Patil NCP candidate for  Mumbai North East

He began his day from the slums of Govandi. Patil directed his party workers to make the most of the remaining 48 hours before polling. He said they should reach out to as many voters and urge them to vote. Patil also led a rally of over a hundred bikers to Shivaji Nagar. While interacting with people in the area, he asked them to come out in large numbers and vote for NCP. Patil travelled with his supporters to Pant Nagar in Ghatkopar (east) from Govandi. His caravan later moved to Amrut Nagar in Ghatkopar (west) and reached Bhandup. He marked Kannamwar Nagar in Vikhroli as the end point, where he was joined by Home Minister R R Patil.     — Aamir Khan & Priyal Dave

Medha Patkar Aam Aadmi Party candidate for Mumbai North East

A nostalgic Patkar chose Lotus Colony and Shivaji Nagar in Govandi as areas for the last day of her campaign on Tuesday. Patkar, who makes her debut in the Lok Sabha polls, could not hold back tears while reminiscing that the area was the starting point of the People’s Movement she spearheaded 38 years ago. “This is the place, Lotus Colony, where I started my movement 38 years ago. I urge you to support me in my fight against those who only know to fill their pockets,” said the social activist-turned-politician. Launching an attack on the two contestants from rival parties – NCP’s Sanjay Dina and BJP’s Kirit Somaiya – she said both belonged to parties that ranked very low on public perception due to multiple scams. “Sanjay Dina Patil comes from a party that has leaders like Ajit Pawar, who is embroiled in multi-crore irrigation scams. Kirit Somaiya is no less. His party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi lied yesterday at a rally in Mumbai when he said Maharashtra got electricity from the Sardar Sarovar dam,” Patkar alleged. While pointing at pamphlets of the BJP and NCP, she said that the two parties got voter id cards printed on them which was a violation of the election code of conduct. “A few days ago, when our party workers tried to stop a vehicle that was carrying cash to be distributed among voters, the police only stood and watched as a mere spectator,” she said.   — Aamir Khan

Gajanan Kirtikar Shiv Sena candidate for  Mumbai North West

After nearly a month of rigourous campaigns, Kirtikar decided to spend the last day of campaigning in his Goregaon (East) office. However, with people queuing up to meet the septuagenarian, he could, in no way, slow down the campaign pace before the EC’s 5 pm deadline on Tuesday.  “For the last 24-25 days, I have held 36 campaign meetings across the constituency and interacted with voters and heard them. Now, we are helping voters and holding meetings with our polling agents,” Kirtikar said.  The four-time MLA’s assistants scurried all over the office as they got calls from voters who did not find their names on the voters’ list. However, after checking their database, they informed them about the polling booth they should go to.     — Mayura Janmalkar

Meera Sanyal Aam Aadmi Party candidate for Mumbai South

Sanyal, too held a bike rally to mark the last day of campaigning on Tuesday.  The banker-turned politician, who managed 10,157 votes in the 2009 elections after she fought as an Independent candidate, chose to canvas through the length and breadth of the constituency. Starting from Worli at 9 am, Sanyal’s close-knit group of supporters travelled through Sewri, Parel, Lower Parel, Agripada, Byculla, Mumbai Central and finally touched Colaba to end their campaign. Unlike her usual rallies where Sanyal walks and stops at every corner to give a brief speech, on Tuesday, she waved at residents from her vehicle. As many as three major rallies were held simultaneously in Marathi-populated Parel and Sewri areas on Tuesday afternoon. AAP crossed paths with MNS supporters thrice. On one occasion, both the parties halted and shouted slogans for their respective parties. AAP volunteers started ranting, “Na paise ka na daru ka, zor chalega jhaadu ka”, and Sanyal bowed and waved at the MNS volunteers. However, confused traffic and police officers immediately requested both the parties to move in opposite directions to avoid clashes.     — Tabassum  Barnagarwala

Poonam Mahajan BJP candidate for  Mumbai North Central

Mahajan chose to focus her energies on non-Marathi voters of her constituency on the last day of campaigning. She began the day with a series of small meetings for 1,500 polling agents to be stationed at the various polling booths in the constituency. Thereafter, party workers made their way to Thakkar Bappa Nagar in Kurla (east) to meet the Rajasthani community of cobblers. They spent a majority of their time at Sangarsh Nagar, Chandivali, to appeal for votes from one of the largest Dalit pockets in the constituency.  Attending the rally were senior BJP leaders, Gopinath Munde, Ashish Shelar, and Ramdas Athavale of the Republican Party of India, who have backed Mahajan from the start.
“We have been campaigning since March 16, and had planned everything in a manner that we managed to finish our campaigning two days ago. Yesterday we had the Modi rally, which was a big event so all our efforts were directed towards it. Today, we held small meetings,” said Rajesh Dabholkar, district president of the BJP youth wing.      — Alison  Saldanha

Phiroze Palkivala Aam Aadmi Party candidate for Mumbai North Central

The Aam Aadmi Party held a rally covering the western suburbs on Tuesday. Using seven tempos, and a campaign car, Palkhivala roamed the areas of Khar, Santacruz, and Bandra (west) in a loop.  Keen to stick to the 5pm deadline, after a spirited discussion mid-rally, party volunteers decided to end the campaign at Ambedkar Chowk, Bandra, around 3 pm. The high-speed long-distance rally, however, failed to make an impression on the voters in the area. Palkhivala stood atop a tempo, adorned with an arch of broomsticks, and waved enthusiastically at the bemused crowd, who looked on curiously. Young party volunteers eagerly distributed AAP caps, while a man with a loud speaker appealed for votes and spoke about the AAP’s basic agenda to clean out the government.   — Alison  Saldanha

 

Ekanth Gaikwad Congress candidate for Mumbai South Central

Adorning a party scarf and Gandhi topi, Gaikwad stood in a truck, as hordes of bikes with the party symbol crossed the arterial roads between Naigoan, Wadala, Dadar, Mahim, Dharavi, Matunga, Sion and Chembur. The septuagenarian started his day at 10.30 am with his bike rally from Naigaon. “I have had door-to-door interactions with the micro pockets in my constituency. Voters have already made up their mind about whom to vote for. That is why today we thought of having just a bike rally to cover all the parts of the constituency for a recall value,” said Gaikwad (74), who was accompanied by his daughter Varsha, an MLA from Dharavi. During the rally, Gaikwad’s party workers chose to showcase the infrastructural projects the city got over the last term such as the Monorail and Eastern Freeway.     — Manasi Phadke

Bala Nandgaonkar MNS candidate for Mumbai South

Taking a break from his usual pad-yatra, Nandgaonkar travelled along with several party workers during a bike rally from Worli to Colaba to make a final appeal for votes.  Nandgaonkar visited Marine Drive at 6.30 am to meet morning walkers. “I went to meet residents in the morning and spent a lot of time at Marine Drive talking to several people,” he said. Later, the rally began from Jamboree Maidan in Worli at 11 am, after a short display of fireworks by party workers. Nandgaonkar’s jeep was followed by several cars, bearing signs urging people to vote for Nandgaonkar, and scores of bikes. The rally passed Lalbaug and Parel areas, where enthusiastic supporters were already waiting to greet Nandgaonkar. Residents greeted him with garlands as the rally passed Lower Parel and the Delisle road towards Sewri.     — Alison Saldanha

Farhan Azmi  Samajwadi Party candidate for Mumbai North Central

Standing in his Delhi-registered black gypsy, Azmi rode through the lanes of Kurla reminding people to vote for his party symbol, the cycle. Not a single cycle in sight, Azmi was leading a big rally of 400 motorcycles with riders wearing no helmets, but t-shirts that read ‘Vote for youth icon — Abu Farhan Azmi’, on Tuesday.  Farhan’s rally was not without its quirks. Unlike other candidates, Azmi was seen showering rose petals on the supporters instead of it being the other way around.  “We wanted to mobilise the youth in our constituency, where voters want to give a first-time candidate a chance to win after being tired of sitting MP Priya Dutt and wary of a communal party that Poonam Mahajan represents,” said Azmi. Farhan also spent time with Muslim leaders and congregations in Chandivali and Kurla.    — Anjali Lukose