As the Lok Sabha elections draw closer, Congress and Shiv Sena are going all out to woo slum dwellers with promises of better living conditions and bigger houses.
South Mumbai Lok Sabha constituency seat, where former union minister and Congress candidate Milind Deora is pitted against Sena’s Arvind Sawant, has many slum pockets from Colaba to Worli.
On March 27, Deora attended a ‘jan sabha’ (public gathering) at Geeta Nagar and Machhimar Nagar in Colaba and met slum dwellers. He also visited Worli, which has the biggest slum population in the constituency spread across Prem Nagar, Siddharth Nagar and Maya Nagar. Deora tweeted about promises of better facilities and bigger houses at both places. “Aaj Worlichya Prem Nagar, Maya Nagar and Siddharth Nagar madhe jan sabha ghetali. Congress pakshane ashwasan dile aahe. Dar garju mumbaikarala neuntam 500 square futache ghar milala pahije (Today I attended public meetings at Prem Nagar, Siddharth Nagar and Maya Nagar (in Worli). Congress has promised Mumbaikar’s that every needy must get a minimum 500 square feet house),” Deora tweeted on March 28.
Before that Deora met slum dwellers at Geeta Nagar and Machhimar Nagar in Colaba and promised them better life if Congress comes in power. Click here for more election news
To counter Deora’s move, Sena’s Sawant highlighted the BDD Chawl redevelopment project, under which thousands of residents, who are living in century-old buildings, are supposed to get bigger houses. On March 30, Sawant tweeted, “Sewree BDD Chawlichya punarvikas samseche kendriy mantri Nitin Gadkari yanchyakade tasech sambandhit yantrekade satatyane pathpurava karun, varamvar loksabhet prashn upasthit karun, pantpradhan Modiji na laksh ghalyanchi vinanti karun nirakaran kele…(I have raised Sewree BDD chawl redevelopment project before union minister Nitin Gadkari in the Lok Sabha, and successfully got solution by drawing attention of Prime Minister Modi…).”
Sawant also said he managed to stop the demolition drive against slums that were legal and facing eviction by Port Trust. “I had stopped their demolition and in situ redevelopment was demanded,” he said.
“BDD chawls and slums have huge voter base, especially BDD Chawl, where there are over 190 buildings spread between Worli, Naigaon and N M Joshi Marg with over 16,000 tenants. Likewise, slums in Worli and Colaba have more than 15,000 tenants. So, it could make difference during voting,” said a Congress worker from Worli.