Following up on BJP’s grand plan to float giant cut-outs of lotuses, the party’s symbol, in the Arabian sea, were 15 Muslim men from the Girgaon Chowpatty Association, who were seen affixing the massive lotuses on boats and anchoring them to face Wankhede stadium Friday.
Noor Khan, who is a swimming trainer, headed the team of 15 men. He said they did this for free but in return wanted to request the BJP government to provide them with better fishing equipment and infrastructure, including life jackets, better jetties in the city and motorboats. “We want a few things from the government and since the world is built on hope, we hope that the new government gives us what we need,” Khan said.
On Friday, 25 boats flanked with the party’s symbol were seen stationed in the Arabian sea, just off the Wankhede stadium, the venue for the swearing-in ceremony. While the entire Marine Drive stretch looked orange in the blazing sun, a sea of people took photographs and selfies in the backdrop of the floating lotuses, along with saffron and green-coloured caps and the party’s flags.
“Last time, we had asked (BJP MLA from Malabar Hill) Mangal Prabhat Lodha to build us a watch-tower near Girgaon Chowpatty, but that has not come up yet,” Noor added.
Akram Khan, a fisherman who took out his own motorboat for the activity, was seen diving into the sea to anchor the cut-outs. “We do this on a daily basis and we could do a better job with improved equipments,” Akram said.
The group comprising fishermen and lifeguards claimed that they had, on previous occasions, helped people from drowning in the sea and had retrieved bodies without looking into the religion of the person. “Hence, we hope that this small demand of ours for better facilities will be fulfilled by BJP,” added Salaam Khan, who was part of the 15-member team.