With the prestigious 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls hardly four months away, political parties are utilising every opportunity to woo the masses.
After dahi handi, Ganeshotsava and Navratri, the latest is the Diwali festival, where various politicos are coming up with various programmes to attract the electorate.
The BJP has organised a programme ‘Mumbaikaranchi Diwali’ which will have six days of morning orchestra called ‘Diwali Pahat’.
The Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have also planned various programmes like distributing sweets and gift items to the people at subsidized rates.
According to Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar, it was an attempt to connect to the masses.
“We received a very enthusiastic response in all the others festivals like Ganeshotsav and Dahi Handi, and this is a continuation of the same,” said Shelar. Here the BJP has organized musical events at six different places across the city from Dahisar to Girguam, where it has roped in well-known classical singers like Ravindra Sathe and Uttara Kelkar.
For the BJP, the 2017 BMC elections is a prominent competition as this time, the party which for years played a junior partner to the Sena, is determined to fight alone and come to power on its own strength.
The BJP has been aggressive in sponsoring various programmes and erecting hoardings across the city.
The Sena however remains unfazed by the turn of events as it says it has been very active on this front for decades. It has opened stalls where it is selling sweets at subsidized rates. In addition, it also plans to distribute crackers and sweets free to the poor people.
“The Sena has been active annually, unlike those who organise high profile events just with an eye on the polls. You will never see them after the elections,” said Sena Sewree legislator Ajay Choudhry taunting the BJP.
Political analysts have called these events as mere gimmicks. “The BJP in the last elections rode on the Modi wave and since they have no base organization, they are resorting to various stunts. The Sena and the MNS also do not want to take any risks and hence are also undertaking various events,” said Prakash Bal, a well known political commentator.
In the 2014 assembly election where the two partners—BJP and Sena—went solo, the BJP bagged more assembly seats that the Sena. This effectively means that BJP will now demand a greater share of BMC seats which the Sena will never accede to.
Additionally, Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, who has been unhappy with the raw deal given to the Sena ministers has accused the BJP of pursuing the agenda of finishing off the Sena.