Mumbai: Candidates play development card in Bhandup west | india | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai: Candidates play development card in Bhandup west

The Shiv Sena and the MNS have been pushing their development plank of building hospitals and dispensaries, widening of internal roads and development of gardens among others.

india Updated: Oct 08, 2014 19:45 IST
Poorvi Kulkarni

While most constituencies in the city are likely to witness a stirring of the Marathi identity pride ahead of the five-cornered contest, Bhandup (West) – a constituency where nearly 75% of the population is Marathi speaking – the campaign trails are heading in a different direction.

Candidates are promising development in the region, where nearly 70% of the 2.98 lakh voters reside in slums.

The Shiv Sena and the MNS, which have been traditionally strong in the region, have been pushing their development plank of building hospitals and dispensaries, widening of internal roads and development of gardens among others.

Sitting MLA Shishir Shinde is banking on the mega projects he claims to have initiated, such as a proposed civicrun super speciality hospital in Bhandup and the Shivaji lake beautification.

“The progress of any area is a steady, ongoing process. After I was elected, the Shivaji lake beautification project, which was pending for years, finally took off. The lake has been cleared off of all encroachments, barring about two of them, which are also being shifted,” said Shinde.

The encroachments around t he l ake, which witnesses t housands of Ganesh i dol immersions, and the silt and garbage accumulated in it, was a major concern for residents. “My main campaign strategy will be to communicate these efforts effectively to voters,” Shinde said.

Shinde also boasted of innovative projects such as open gyms at four locations and an air-conditioned reading room that he launched prior to the Lok Sabha elections this year.

“We have free access to equipment used in gyms. This encourages us to exercise and is a break f rom household chores,” said Vaibhavi Parab, 41, resident of Kokan Nagar.

Meanwhile, Ashok Patil, Sena candidate and thirdtime corporator, has dis-missed Shinde’s claims. “What Bhandup needs is amenities such as gardens, playgrounds, dispensaries and roads. There is not a single garden here. No MP and MLA in the past 20 years envisioned an overall development of Bhandup,” said Patil.