Though he is usually the last person to arrive at his campaign rallies, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) sitting MP Sanjay Dina Patil remains confident of a victory again in the Mumbai North East constituency.
Patil dismissed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Medha Patkar and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Kirit Somaiya as “not worth competing”, claiming they were “no match” for his development model and popularity in the constituency.
Brushing aside any possibility of a threat from the two main competitors in the election fray, he said, “There is no threat from either Patkar or Somaiya. She (Patkar) is welcome here, but her party has no presence. One can always lead protesters and hog the limelight, courtesy media and police authorities, but contesting elections is a completely different ball game.”
Patil, who won with 21,3505 votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, also criticised Patkar for contesting on the grounds of “sympathy” and leaving the Narmada Bachao Andolan “midway” in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
Attacking Somaiya, who lost to him by a slender margin of 2,933 votes in the last election, Patil said other cases similar to that of Monika More, who lost both her arms in an accident at Ghatkopar station in January this year, took place in the area. Somaiya had come out in support of Monika and her family. “There have been many Monikas before, but where was he when those accidents took place?”
Patil alleged that it was only when the election fever had gripped the nation, that Somaiya became active. “Even I have contested before and lost, but I do not sit at home and crib. He was sitting at home for the past four-and-a-half years, and only when elections approached, he came out of his long slumber. What has he done? Why is he measuring the platforms now?” questioned Patil.
On being asked about the general perception that he was inaccessible, Patil said, “It is only the version of the candidates, and not people. You ask people whether I am approachable. People call me for help at midnight and I do not disappoint them.”
On the alleged involvement of NCP ministers in scams, and party’s image being affected by it, he said, “Ajit Dada stepped down (as deputy CM) which shows his honesty and later he was given a clean chit by the court. Law takes it own course and if somebody is guilty, they will be punished.”
Calling his party workers and supporters an “extended family”, the NCP leader said he utilised the MPs fund to build toilets, parks and gymnasiums, and carry out other developmental work. “I have also protected open spaces in the area,” said the 45-year-old NCP leader.
“Narendra Modi has been hyped by media to look like a father-figure. He harps on the development model in his state that he has built on graves. He cuts and divides. People cannot forget his misdeeds and what happened in 2002. Come May 16, the big balloon bloated by media about Modi being the face of BJP is going to burst,” Patil added.