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Sunday, July 15, 2018

A day to go, candidates hold their nerves

A look at how candidates from Mumbai’s six constituencies prepare for the D-day.

| Mumbai | Published: May 15, 2014 1:43:23 am
Workers prepare 2,000 kgs of laddoos ordered by the BJP, in Girgaon on Wednesday. Ganesh Shirsekar Workers prepare 2,000 kgs of laddoos ordered by the BJP, in Girgaon on Wednesday. Ganesh Shirsekar

Unlike other candidates, MNS’s Bala Nandgaonkar chose a vacation to escape election work. “It was my son’s summer break, so we went on a holiday to the US,” he said. “I am visiting families of jawans killed in Gadchiroli to express my condolence. It is sad to see the condition in which they live,” he said on Wednesday, adding that the party has already started celebrations for their ‘inevitable victory’. Sitting MP Milind Deora has been travelling regularly to Delhi for party work.

“I am catching up on some ministry work and then headed to Delhi for last meetings. Real relaxation will take place only after the results,” Deora said, adding that he will return to Mumbai for the counting. AAP’s Meera Sanyal, on the other hand, went to Varanasi for a few days. “For the past few days, we have been reviewing the campaign cost incurred. I am preparing for Election Commission’s permission to allocate our volunteers on counting day,” she said, adding that she celebrated with volunteers as they had done a lot of work post polls.

Congress’ Eknath Gaikwad, one of the oldest candidates in the city, and MNS’s Aditya Shirodkar, who is one of the city’s youngest candidate, have been at their respective offices for the past few days. Both are confident of winning the seat, and said they utilised their time meeting various people from the constituency and learning about their problems.

Gaikwad, who has been an MP from the constituency for two terms now, said he had been spending about three to four hours in his office every morning. “I am confident of winning, but even if I lose, I will continue going to office and address people’s issues. So, why stop now just before counting?”

Shirodkar’s campaign manager said while the past few days had been spent in preparation to take on all the tasks of an MP, he did take a few days off right after polls to take a short vacation within the state and attend a wedding.

AFTER intensive election campaigning and before the announcement of the results on Friday, candidates from the constituency have been using the breather to spend time with family and attend rallies of their parties’ leading national candidates. A day after Mumbai voted on April 24, BJP’s Poonam Mahajan travelled to Varanasi to join BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in a day-long rally.

She was followed by Priya Dutt, sitting MP of the constituency, who assisted in back-stage preparation for Rahul Gandhi’s road show there. Samajwadi Party candidate and hotelier Farhan Azmi attended 11 weddings in a week, and prepared for the launch of two more restaurants in the Basillico chain in Goa. He also managed to squeeze in a quick meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Candidates are now busy preparing for the counting day, coordinating with polling agents and party workers. While Mahajan is planning to hold a massive rally, touring the constituency after the results are announced, Azmi said that, irrespective of the results, he will call his competitors in the evening and congratulate the winner.

FOR BJP candidate Kirit Somaiya, his free time is still a month away or at least till the first session of the 16th Lok Sabha in June. Somaiya, who is certain of victory, said, “The start of my action plan from day one will be my way of celebrating BJP’s victory. The first thing that I will ensure is that railway accident victim Monika More gets treated in a week. The assembling of the equipment is under way, while the financial needs have already been met.”

Sanjay Dina Patil, the sitting MP from the constituency, has been attending family functions and weddings. “It has just been regular business after polls. The routine has been attending functions and weddings,” said Patil.

An unflustered Patil said exit polls had been circulating for a while now. “Let us see what happens on May 16. What is the point of worrying? The fate of the candidates have been sealed inside the ballot,” he quips, while conceding that BJP branded themselves through “good marketing”.

ATTENDING weddings in his jurisdiction, as well as functions of Buddha Purnima, besides conducting meetings, has kept Gopal Shetty, BJP candidate from the constituency, occupied. On Thursday, Shetty has a choc-a-block diary, with a book release, a meeting with officials from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, as well as one with Kandivali (east) residents. Sanjay Nirupam, Congress candidate, on the other hand, visited four temples on Wednesday.

He also held a meeting with counting agents of booths in his constituency, before setting out again for a temple visit in the evening. Nirupam said if he won, he would celebrate and then get back as soon as possible to his duties as an MP.

SHIV Sena candidate Gajanan Kirtikar said he was sure of a win. “According to the calculations we have made, a win is confirmed. We know how I have fared in each ward,” he said. He added that permission would be sought to erect a pandal outside the counting centre to accommodate up to 5,000 party members.

The sitting MP from the constituency is Congress’ Gurudas Kamat. Mayank Gandhi, the Aam Aadmi Party candidate, returned to the city on Sunday, after campaigning for party chief Arvind Kejriwal in Varanasi. AAP’s attention has already turned to planning for the Assembly elections. “We have been holding meetings to prepare for the state Assembly elections. On Friday, I will be inside the counting centre. I am prepared for all possibilities, but do not expect to win as a lot of money was spent (by other candidates) on the final day of campaigning. I am not sure what will happen on Friday, and do not want to speculate,” Mayank said.

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