Four candidates from the South Mumbai constituency — sitting MP Milind Deora (Congress), Bala Nandgaonkar (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena), Meera Sanyal (Aam Aadmi Party) and Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena) — engaged in a verbal war while addressing residents of Pedder Road, Napean Sea Road, Altamount road and Carmichael Road Sunday.
Deora took a dig at Sanyal claiming that she, in 2009, had promised to work for South Mumbai even if she lost the Lok Sabha elections. “I thought Meera will be in action, but where was the action?” he questioned. Deora also targeted Nandgaonkar’s party for engaging in protests and disrupting normal governance by hinting at the recent toll booths’ damaging spree that MNS was involved in.
While he laid stress on bringing about cellphone tower reforms and introducing e-governance as a pilot project to cut off time consumed in procuring a passport or a driving licence during his term, Sanyal hit back at Deora alleging that over 50 per cent towers are illegal in the city. “When I met people during the campaigns, they asked me whether even I will disappear like Deora did post elections. It is Deora in ‘absentia’,” said Sanyal during her speech.
“The registered voters have reduced from 16.9 lakh in 2009 to 14.3 this year. People living in South Mumbai are moving out because it is not affordable to live,” said Sanyal.
Sawant chose to play it safe with ‘Ab ki baar Modi sarkar’ slogan. “We have placed Modi in our leader’s post. Atleast Pakistan will know how to behave with us,” Sawant said. Taking a dig at AAP’s governance in Delhi, Sawant said: “Are you going to vote for AAP, wo to kabhi bhi bhaag jayega (they will run away any time).”
In the four-pronged competition this LS election, sources from within the Sena believe that AAP will cut into Congress votes just like MNS did for Sena during 2009 elections, which will leave a clear way for Sena in the South Mumbai constituency this year. “We have a stronghold in Sewri, Worli and Girgaum areas. MNS was new when 2009 elections took place and people wanted to give them a chance. Now their popularity has decreased. AAP will cut into Congress’ s votes,” a source from the Sena said.
Deora, however, said: “I don’t think AAP will cut into our votes. People in South Mumbai will make an informed vote and their votes will be based on individual candidates rather than the party they belong to”.