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Polls in city four days away, big guns make a dash
With voting in Mumbai only four days away, top political leaders are set to arrive in the city to give one last push for their candidates.
While Congress president Sonia Gandhi and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will address rallies at the MMRDA grounds at Bandra Kurla Complex on April 20 and April 21, respectively, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will be addressing meetings in the three Lok Sabha seats that his Samajwadi Party candidates are contesting for.
Gandhi is scheduled to arrive at the rally venue around 5 pm. Mumbai Congress chief Janardan Chandurkar said the party was expecting over 2.5 lakh people at the venue.
The BJP, however, claimed the turnout for Modi’s rally would be bigger than that at Gandhi’s rally. Modi’s rally last December had witnessed a huge turnout. But even BJP insiders conceded that managing similar numbers would be difficult for an election rally, especially on a working day.
To mobilise crowd, the Congress has asked all its legislators and district unit presidents to ensure the presence of at least 5,000 people from each of Mumbai’s Assembly segments. The party has also various Dalit factions to mobilise additional crowd. Besides this, Congress supporters from other areas in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region are also expected to lend strength.
A senior leader said over 4,000 buses could be pressed into service to ferry people to the venue. The party has booked all the 12 grounds available in the BKC, reserving three for parking arrangements.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan himself monitored arrangements at the venue Saturday. Besides Mumbai, Gandhi and Modi will also square up in back-to-back rallies in Nandurbar and Dhule in the state over the next three days.
Gadkari to skip Modi rally
BJP leader Nitin Gadkari will skip Modi’s Mumbai rally. Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar said, “Gadkari had a pre-scheduled rally in Jalgaon around the same time.” After his own election campaign in Nagpur that went to polls on April 10, Gadkari has not been very active in campaigning for party’s other candidates. “Gadkari was unwell,” Shelar said.