Inspired by the adage, “An early bird catches the worm”, Lok Sabha election candidates have adopted an innovative method to connect with voters — early morning campaigns in gardens and playgrounds when people are exercising or jogging.
It ensures direct communication with voters, said Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate from South Central Mumbai Sweta Parulekar. “Since my opponents are well-established political figures, a newcomer like me needs to put in more efforts to convince the voters,” she added. Parulekar covered Shivaji Park on Saturday and would be seen at Five Gardens on Sunday morning.
Bharatiya Janata Party North East Mumbai candidate Kirit Somaiya has campaigned at more than 15 gardens in his constituency between Ghatkopar and Mulund from 6.30 am to 8 am. Somaiya’s campaign manager Mangal Mange said it provides a great opportunity for informal talks. “It provides an opportunity to clear any doubts and convince them,” said Mange.
But citizens have greeted this move with mixed reaction.
“At least I was able to quiz the candidates about their plans, which is otherwise hardly possible,” said Shivaji Park resident Rahul Vaidya (45).
But Jagdeep Udeshi (50) was unhappy that pamphlets distributed by the candidates were strewn in the park.
“Party workers should pick up the discarded pamphlets and keep the garden clean,” he said.
And wooing voters in South Mumbai, both Milind Deora (Congress) and Bala Nandgaonkar (MNS) are criss-crossing prominent places like Nariman Point and Malabar Hill. While Deora’s supporters host tea parties, Nandgaonkar is seen jogging and “connecting with the people”.
“I am basically highlighting the work I have done in the last five years to the senior citizens,” said Deora.
And Nandgaonkar said: “I highlight the stance of my leader Raj Thackeray to the masses.”