The EC froze your party’s preferred ‘whistle’ poll symbol. How will a rickshaw symbol affect your party?
It’s okay. Because of this new symbol, we got 50,000 readymade karyakartas. Members of the Rickshaw Association met me and said they will campaign for us. The reason we chose this symbol is because each village has a rickshaw. We’ve fought with different symbols in the past… Another party wanted the same symbol, and were even mischievously looking for a similar named candidate, but couldn’t find one. We’ve received support from CPM, CPI, Congress and other parties.
What kind of promises will you make as your party is contesting just one seat?
In a debate recently, I asked ruling party members about the work they had done in the last five years. When our MP (Baliram Jadhav) was around, we extended the local (train) to Dahanu. The gas-through-pipeline scheme was passed during our MP’s term. The ruling party has not done anything here. What work our MP started, their MP didn’t even follow up… Having one MP opens the door for us in Delhi, it helps to get work done. Wahan Hitendra Thakur kaam mein nahi aayega (There Hitendra Thakur won’t work). One MP can help us meet ministers, government officers and get our work done here. Ek MP bhi kaam kar sakta hai (Even one MP can work), you don’t need 100 MPs for it.
Several migrants moved to Vasai taluka recently. Were the authorities ready to handle the situation?
Vasai taluka is like mini-India. People from all regions, be it Kashmir or Kanyakumari or Assam in the North East, and all religions stay here. Being close to Mumbai has its advantages and disadvantages. Vasai is amongst the fastest-growing talukas. In the last census, there has been a massive growth in population here, especially of people who can’t afford to live in Mumbai. We can’t tell them not to come here. We are trying to provide them affordable facilities.
Last monsoon, Vasai-Nallasopara was in spotlight for wrong reasons.
A bridge was constructed at a wrong place… it was done by people from the Opposition. Our corporation demolished it. In those tough times, we stood by the people. It was raining and the area was flooded but we all tried to help everyone. We hope it will not happen again.
How are you dealing with fake news?
I meet people every day till 2 pm. I don’t have any personal assistants… neither do my MLAs. We have one-to-one connection with people. I don’t meet people only during elections. The other day Uddhav (Thackeray) said that there was dehshat (fear) in this area. I want to tell him that if there was dehshat and it was his government for the past five years, he should have done something. Whatever facilities we can provide, we provide them to the people.
Is there a Modi wave in Palghar?
Idhar bas Hitendra wave hai… because people only see who will help them if they are in trouble. I am always available for any help and I’ve not changed my contact number. MP, MLAs often change their numbers but I haven’t. When politicians help you in emergencies, you remember them. We will win because we connect with people here. I don’t know what people from outside of Palghar think about us, but people here like us.