BETWEEN 2004 and 2007, Joseph ‘Joe’ Gaikwad served as senior police inspector at Mahim police station. In 2010, after retiring from the Mumbai Police, he moved with his family and made Mahim his home. In 2012, he contested the BMC elections as a citizen candidate, but lost. However, that has not deterred the former Mumbai cop from contesting for the second time.
“Last time I was elected as a citizen candidate and managed to bag 1,200 votes, while the winner got 5,000 votes. This time, I am confident of winning,” said Gaikwad, who is fondly addressed as ‘Joe’ by locals.
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Now 63, Gaikwad said even though he was confident of getting a Congress ticket, the party changed its decision at the last minute. “I was promised a Congress ticket by many senior leaders of the party, but at the last minute, I learnt that the ticket was given to Adil Parkar,” said Gaikwad.
“In 2012, I had contested on an independent ticket but this time around I wanted to contest from a party ticket and thought Congress was the right choice. However, they ditched me at the last minute. They might have indulged in petty politics but the people of Mahim will give them a befitting reply,” he added.
Having served the area as senior police inspector, Gaikwad said he knows every nook and cranny. With minority constituting over one-third of the ward’s population, he said they will be the deciding factor. “The minorities, which includes the Muslims, Christians and Parsis, form a sizeable population and I enjoy their confidence,” he said.
“Even today, I make a point to visit the Mahim Dargha after Friday prayers to interact with people. Other than the minorities, the police line is also located in Mahim and since I have served as a senior police inspector in this area, I am confident that they will opt for me over others,” he added.
Asked what made him shift from Khaki to Khadi, “The love for Mahim,” he replied in a jiffy.
“When you are a police officer your role is limited to ensuring that the law and order of the area is maintained. But when you are an elected representative, you are responsible for the welfare of the people and their expectations from you increase,” said Gaikwad.
Gaikwad has also managed to get some of the former cops on his campaign trail too. “On Sunday, Retired ACP Shamsher Khan Pathan and Suhail Khandwani joined me. They support the cause I am fighting for and it is nice to have old colleagues campaign for me and seeking votes for candles — my symbol,” he added.
Like other wards, the issues concerning Mahim are no different. “The biggest problem is that of garbage and the mosquito menace caused by it. Also, the playgrounds here are being encroached upon. I am focusing on these issues. Other than these, potholes, water supply and dedicated pavement for senior citizens are issues that bother people and hopefully, if I get a chance to serve them, I will try my best to provide the best amenities,” said Gaikwad.