Autorickshaw drivers have gained prominence in city politics as candidates of all major parties are rallying around them for support to reach out to maximum population in the remaining few days of election campaign.
“Candidates of various political parties are approaching us for support in the Lok Sabha elections. We are getting confused over whom to support, but will campaign as per the decision of the union,” said an autorickshaw driver. He said the contest for Pune LS seat is very close due to the political situation.
MNS candidate Deepak Paigude has been highlighting how he started his career as a rickshaw driver in the city. “I started as a autorickshaw driver and went on to become a corporator then legislator. I am aware of their plight and resolving them will be my priority,” he said.
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Paigude emphasised on how the autorickshaw drivers suffer due to various health problems much earlier than others and added that he would look into setting up a facility to take care of their health issues and also start an automobile spare parts shop for their convenience.
It was Paigude who decided to connect with the autorickshaw drivers as he reached the election office to file his nomination in an autorickshaw.
Realising the connect that would be beneficial for election campaign, the Congress too had organised a meeting of autorickshaw drivers to seek support for the party candidate Vishwajeet Kadam. Though Kadam could not make it to the meeting, legislators Ulhas Pawar and Dipti Chaudhari appealed to the drivers to campaign for him.
“The Congress has started a health scheme for the unorganised sector and various steps are being taken to improve the life of people living on daily wages. Autorickshaw drivers should take advantage of the schemes launched by Congress-led government in the state and Centre,” Chaudhari said.
Autorickshaw drivers come in contact with people from all classes, she said, adding that they should influence voters to give opportunity to young candidates of the Congress.
AAP candidate Subhash Ware said he too had approached the autorickshaw union to seek support. “I have not yet received any communication but am hopeful. I have been working for the welfare of the unorganised sector and many organisations working for the cause have already extended support to me,” he added.