Narendra Modi struck a chord with Khushboo Patel on Saturday. Every time the Prime Minister took a dig at the rival parties during his first poll address in the state at Mahalakshmi Racecourse, the Breach Candy resident broke into giggles. “I love his sarcasm!” she exclaimed to her friends as the youngsters cheered from the VIP block.
Barring the PM’s funny jibes, the bunch of first time voters had very little understanding about the elections. “What are these polls for, the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha?” one asked. Needless to say, no one had an answer to this question.
While some south Mumbai youngsters were drawn to the rally due to Modi’s fan following, majority of them were dragged by their families, who were invited by senior Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators.
“I came to visit my sister and got dragged to the rally,” said Malabar Hill resident Rishabh Gidwani, as he fanned himself with his handkerchief.
In the jam-packed venue on the humid evening, as the people waited for the Prime Minister for more than two hours, some faces began to drop. But as soon as he arrived, they broke into roaring cheers that continued throughout the address.
Some youngsters made it to the event directly after their classes. Andheri resident Rinal Jain, for instance, came to the rally just after her lectures got over.
“I’m here because I’m a huge fan of the Prime Minister,” said the student of Lala Lajpatrai College, in Worli. She had to leave the event halfway as her parents were worried. “I’ll catch up the rest of his speech online,” said the first-time voter.
Many were seen taking photographs of Modi and the rally on their phones and posting them on social media websites.
An aerial camera hovering above the venue caught a mixed profile of voters as it panned from the stage towards the exit gates. While south Mumbai entrepreneurs occupied the front blocks, the back rows were packed with slum dwellers, who came all the way from eastern and western suburbs.
“We have to catch the next Virar local,” said Tukaram Dhake, as he applauded to a limerick by Republican Party of India (RPI) leader Ramdas Athavale.