THE LAST day of campaigning ahead of Monday’s Assembly polls saw leaders of all political parties in action, trying to make their last impression on voters.
While some tried to end it on a high note, others kept it informal. With the city soaked by showers, many extravagant plans for roadshows were dampened, but some braved the rain, proceeding with bike rallies and others peppered their campaign with a last-minute star attractions.
Targeting Malad West sitting MLA and Congress candidate Aslam Shaikh, Adityanath said, “Here in Malad West, Congress-NCP has nominated Aslam Shaikh. Everyone knows who he is. He is the one who wrote a letter to free Yakub Memon. If we vote for him (Shaikh), we will insult those who protect the country at the border. If you vote for him, it will be an insult of the country’s security.”
Claiming that Congress-NCP leaders had links with ‘D-Company’, he said, “Today, the fact that D-Company has links with the leaders of Congress-NCP has come out in the open. This shows that the relationship of these leaders with anti-national elements has always remained strong. They don’t worry about country’s security or its citizen’s security. They play with country’s security.”
Referring to Shaikh, Adityanath said, “Sabse bada paap hai desh se gaddari (The biggest sin is cheating our own country).” He added that if people vote for leaders who support gangsters, it will mean they are cheating their own country.
He added that those who put country’s security at risk have only three options. “Ya desh me jail me raho, ya desh ke bahar jao, ya phir yamlok ki yatra me narak me jao (Either remain in prison or leave the country, or die and go to hell).”
Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray and Shiv Sena candidate from Worli held roadshows at Dharavi, Andheri (East), Bandra (East) and Worli.
Turning heads on Saturday was Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s bodyguard Gurmeet Singh alias Shera, who campaigned with Aaditya in Dharavi, Bandra (East) and Andheri (East) constituencies. Shera had joined the Shiv Sena on Friday night. He also campaigned for Sena candidates in Mumbadevi and Byculla constituencies.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray held two public rallies in Thane and Navi Mumbai. He demanded that the public should “get angry” and “express their rage” if they wanted the situation to change. “You come to us for all of your problems, you seek help from us, but then you vote for others. Why not ask them for help then? You know, we are the ones who can help you, then why not vote for us and see what we can do,” he told a gathering.
Targeting senior BJP leaders, he added, “They keep talking about Article 370 and the Kashmir issue. I have already congratulated the PM about it, but what about the people and issues of Maharashtra? Why not focus on them?”
Congress candidate from Bandra (West), Asif Zakaria, said that he and party leader Priya Dutt altered their initial plan of padyatra from Bandra station to Reclamation to visit small gaothans and bazaars. “Because of the rains we had to cut short our yatra,” Zakaria said.
In Andheri West, where a fund crunch had forced Congress to focus more on public meetings and door-to-door campaigns, the last day of campaign was an attempt at show of strength with Ashok Jadhav holding a padyatra with party workers. Jadhav was a former MLA of the constituency before he lost the 2014 polls to BJP’s Ameet Satam. “We held a padyatra with a few bikes following the rally,” said Jadhav’s son Kunal.
Manisha Chaudhary, incumbent MLA and BJP candidate from Dahisar, took out a cycle and a bike rally. “We didn’t stop due to the rain. We campaigned throughout the day in Dahisar.”