Be it with bicycles or a Lamborghini, Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Farhan Azmi is keen on making his presence felt in the North Central constituency. The MP hopeful’s father and SP state president Abu Azmi led a bicycle and motorcycle rally through the streets of Bandra, Khar, Santacruz and Kurla Thursday, while Farhan is set to seek permission to hold a rally of taxis, autorickshaws followed by one with high-end luxury cars, including a Lamborghini, Ferraris, Porsches and Range Rovers, in his constituency.
Riding on their party symbol (bicycle) is not new for the SP candidate. On April 4, the candidate and his father rode on an bicycle on a short stretch along the Western Express Highway towards the suburban collector’s office en route to filing his nomination papers.
Starting near the SRA office in Bandra (East), the riders, most of whom were not wearing helmets, with red SP flags perched on their two-wheelers snaked their way through Kherwadi junction, Teen Bangla, Golibhar Naka, Kalina and terminated their rally at Kurla. Around 300 cycles and bikes took part in the six-kilometre ride, party workers claimed.
With the cycle and motorcycle rally packed with youth from the Muslim community and by covering a large number of mosques, Azmi is trying to make his presence felt among his primary voter base – Muslims. Over the past week, Azmi has visited an average of three mosques and a few churches to pray and interact with locals, with the latest interaction being at the Mahim Dargah Thursday.
Farhan says he wants to connect with maximum people while on the move. “SP in Maharashtra would like to work bridge the gap between rich and poor and bring them out together to vote. My friends and others in my social circle will come in support in their luxury cars just to give out this message,” said Farhan.
According to SP, the rallies will be held on Sundays to avoid inconveniencing people during their regular commute.
Azmi is fighting a tough battle with Congress’ sitting MP Priya Dutt and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Poonam Mahajan for the North Central seat. SP is trying to capitalise on the voter discontent against Dutt as well as the Muslim community’s apprehension towards the BJP to win the seat. “The Congress leaders’ fortunes have grown a hundredfold since the last elections, but the condition of their constituency has not changed at all. Priya Dutt doesn’t understand the issues and takes it for granted that North Central will be her seat life-long,” said Rais Shaikh, SP Mumbai spokesperson. “Even her own party workers are working against her. The constituency needs someone who is young and works for the disadvantaged sections and Farhan will do that.”
Azmi has also come out with an ‘area-centric’ manifesto that talks about uplift of minorities, implementation of Justice Sachar Committee report, preservation of heritage sites such as Bandra Talao, Mount Mary’s Basilica, Jama Masjid, Tata Agiary and Jari Mari temple and annihilation of caste and religious discrimination.
‘A rapist should be hanged 100 times’
“Mulayam Singhji’s comment is condemnable. I would request my seniors to come out and clarify the statement. I have seen how much Mulayamji respects women and even in our party. I’m sure he meant something else and it sounded like that. I, personally, feel that a rapist should be hanged 100 times,” responded Farhan Azmi.