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To vote or not to vote

On Sunday evening the residents’ associations of Altamount road, Carmichael road, Peddar road and Napean Sea Road had organised a meeting to meet with the candidates standing from our constituency.

Surprisingly enough it was well attended showing a renewed interest in politics in a constituency known for its voter apathy and low turn out. The moderator Mr. Gidwani made it very clear that this was not to be a mud slinging fest nor was it to be a Mumbai centric Q & A and exhorted the audience to rise above the pot holes. He also made it clear that the candidates were presented in alphabetical order thus making it quite clear that there was no bias or hidden agenda.

Our sitting MP Milind Deora of the Congress party was the first to go because his surname began with D. Starting out quite well, he spoke about his achievements in the past five years chief among them being initiating certain legislations like regulating cell tower emissions, reducing corruption b introducing egovernance in areas such as passport issue, freeing up Mumbai Port Trust land for public use and above all for having an attendance record at parliament which was higher than the national average . Unfortunately he didn’t specify what the figure was…..This was where he should have ended his speech but he went on to take pot shots at his opponents albeit in a polite way.

Bala Nandgaonkar of the MNS was next. He drew quite a few laughs and chuckles from the crowd as he pointed out the obvious lapses of the current government but did not come up with any concrete policy for either the constituency, the city or the country.

Meera Sanyal of the Aam Aadmi Party was next in the line up and was very articulate in both her defence of her party and its policies, her own agenda for the constituency and above all refuted her opponents in a quiet dignified manner.

Arvind Sawant of the Shiv Sena which has aligned with the BJP this election was equally articulate albeit in Hindi which he was more comfortable in. He too promised better governance with focus on slum redevelopment, increased jobs and improved public transportation. Above all, he said tht a government under Modi won’t pussyfoot around our neighbours and will have the guts to tell both Pakistan and China where to get off.

The Q & A session was a it more fiery with some of the audience actually heckling with the MNS berthing them for their divisive politics and destructive behaviour. Before the meeting got really rowdy I left but still not sure about which candidate to vote for. Does one vote for a candidate or the party?

Well I still have a few more days to decide before I go down to the poll booth

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