Today in New Delhi, India
Apr 26, 2019-Friday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

2019 Lok Sabha polls: On the campaign trail in Mumbai with BJP’s Manoj Kotak

The three-time corporator from Mulund, who is contesting in the Mumbai North East constituency, has replaced veteran BJP leader Kirit Somaiya as the candidate

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 12, 2019 08:57 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times
Manoj Kotak campaigning in Bhandup on Thursday

The word, Kamal (lotus), echoes in the slums of Bhandup (West) as Manoj Kotak, the BJP-Shiv Sena candidate, travels in a rath on the narrow roads along the Tansa pipeline.

A party worker continues to shout: “29 April visru naka. Manoj Kotak na vote kara. Tyanchi nishaani aahe Kamal Kamal Kamal. (Don’t forget about April 29. Vote for Manoj Kotak. The symbol is lotus).”

Before he begins his rath yatra around 4pm, he points to the Tansa pipeline: “This is where the cycle track will come.”

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has undertaken construction of a ₹120-crore track from Mulund to Matunga, a proposal passed by the standing committee, of which Kotak is a member.

The three-time corporator from Mulund, who is contesting in the Mumbai North East constituency, has replaced veteran BJP leader Kirit Somaiya as the candidate. On Thursday, he takes a 10-minute power nap between rallies at two major slum-pockets in the constituency – the Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar belt and Bhandup (W).

He travels through the crowded, narrow lanes areas of Bhandup West, where a majority of the population is Maharashtrian. The Bhandup segment alone has 2.88 lakh voters of the 15.6 lakh electorate.

As women get on the rath to do his “aarti”, he says, “Kamal cha button daba. Visru naka.” (Press the lotus symbol. Don’t forget)” While most nod their head, a woman retorts, “Aamhala pan visru naka. (Don’t forget us.) “

Kotak’s other oft-repeated lines are “Aashirwaad rakhna” (Keep your blessings) and “Modi ko vapas lana hai” (We have to bring Modi back). He gets down to visit every temple on the way and the local offices of BJP, Sena and RPI, partners of the grand alliance. The eastern suburb of Bhandup is also the area, which Kotak’s opponent Sanjay Dina Patil from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) represented as an MLA earlier. However, Kotak is confident of his win. “People want Narendra Modi again. They will vote the BJP to power,” Kotak says.

After Bhandup, Kotak visits Mulund and ends his day in Ghatkopar. A close aide of Kotak says, “Our day starts at 7am and ends at 3-4am the next day. It is a 12-hour schedule.”

First Published: Apr 11, 2019 23:50 IST