The Dahisar constituency is witnessing an unusual poll promise by women and for women. Sheetal Mhatre from the Congress and Dr Shubha Raul from the MNS are promising self-respect, dignity and safety of women if voted to power.
“Mahila ke samaan ke liye….Dahisar ke vikas ke liye…[For respect of women... development of Dahisar],” is shouted out on a loudspeaker, as Raul moves around in the constituency where women comprise 50% of the electorate.
It’s a veiled reference directed against sitting Shiv Sena MLA Vinod Ghosalkar, who is out on bail after Sena corporator Sheetal Mhatre alleged harassment.
Instead of reprimanding Ghosalkar, party chief Uddhav Thackeray fielded him for the assembly polls.
A former mayor, Raul, who was denied a Sena ticket, is campaigning for the cause of women safety under the MNS banner. Sensing opportunity, the Congress and BJP have also fielded women candidates. All three women had spoken out against Ghosalkar.
While Mhatre is appealing to the electorate to vote for the women’s dignity, BJP’s Manisha Chaudhary is careful not to criticise her former ally and instead sticks to the development agenda laid out by PM Narendra Modi.
Invoking Chhatrapati Shivaji who “fought till his last breath respecting women, valuing independence and public welfare”, Mhatre claims women’s safety is her first priority. “Of course, I am targeting Vinod Ghosalkar. If the MLA is committing crimes against women, what do you expect from his party men?” she said.