At canteen outside civic HQ, tea simmers, discussions heat up

Six days from now, the city will get a new MP  once the results of the Lok Sabha elections are out on May 16. As the day of the verdict nears, discussions about what the final tally will be are getting more intense. One of the many such places where a harmless cup of tea threatens to boil over a heated debate is the modest food joint outside the civic headquarters.

It’s where everyone from party workers to leaders, contractors to administration staff and political reporters hang out frequently.

The moment you enter the place you can feel the air palpably rife with a discussion, just waiting to take the form of words and gestures. Everyone, irrespective of his or her profession or political affiliation, feels free to discuss, debate, analyse and pronounce judgment on what the end result is likely to be. Their proximity to their civic headquarters probably reposing in them a confidence they feel only the very brave would challenge.

Most of the faces are familiar, but unfamiliar faces too don’t feel the least bit inhibited when it comes to jumping into an election discussion.

A greeting to a BJP party worker followed with a cursory query on their candidate’s chance of bagging a win elicits a quick and confident response that victory is theirs. After a moment’s thought, he quickly adds that while there is immense hope, as anything can happen. “We have given our best but the increase in number of formidable opponents has kept us guessing,” he says.

A PMC contractor says there is too much hype in the media about the BJP. “I doubt it will transform into votes as the Congress has a strong base in the city. The party vote bank in the slums is unlikely to change sides,” he added.

“The Congress and NCP have been at loggerheads in the city but it was for the first time that they were united and working hard for the alliance candidate. This will have an impact,” said another contractor.

An architect, who is a regular vistor at the PMC for getting approval to building plans, says “Citizens are fed up of established parties and their only hope lies with the new entrant, AAP.”

The civic staff hopes that the dream of a change would come true this election. “The MNS has increased its political presence in the city and that was the reason why the strength of its corporators was increasing in PMC,” he said.