NCP candidate Sanjay Patil campaigns in Bhandup on Tuesday.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)
NCP candidate Sanjay Patil campaigns in Bhandup on Tuesday.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

2019 Lok Sobha polls: On the campaign trail with Sanjay Dina Patil in Mumbai

On Tuesday, accompanied by local MNS workers on his ‘rath’, Patil says he is banking on MNS to get him Maharashtrian votes. The Marathi voters account for the largest [46%] vote-share in the constituency.
UPDATED ON APR 17, 2019 08:03 AM IST

If the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has any presence in the city these Lok Sabha elections, it seems to be mostly in the Mumbai North East constituency, with its support for the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate, Sanjay Dina Patil.

On Tuesday, accompanied by local MNS workers on his ‘rath’, Patil says he is banking on MNS to get him Maharashtrian votes. The Marathi voters account for the largest [46%] vote-share in the constituency.

“In 2009, it was Raj Thackeray who made me an MP. In 2019 again, his workers are working more than us to make me win,” Patil says during his campaign rally. The former MP was referring to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when MNS had fielded Shishir Shinde, who got 1.95 lakh votes.

In 2014, MNS supported BJP’s Kirit Somaiya and he won by more than 3 lakh votes. In 2019, Thackeray has asked his workers to work towards a BJP-mukt Bharat, indirectly helping the Congress-NCP.

Patil’s rally on Tuesday started from the Navjeevan school in Bhandup. The suburb, which Patil has represented as an MLA before, has more than 2 lakh voters of the 15.6 lakh voters in the constituency. The six assembly segments here include Mulund, Bhandup, Ghatkopar E, Ghatkopar W, Vikhroli and Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar.

He has been touring the constituency on foot most days, say his workers say as they distribute pamphlets to those travelling in buses and autos. Patil is described as a young, dynamic and experienced leader in the pamphlets.

His wife Pallavi Patil leads the women cadre as they walk along the narrow roads of the suburb. “It is a huge constituency. After Bhandup, we will go to Surya Nagar in Powai in the evening,” she says. “The day starts at 6am and ends late in the night,” she further says as she asks the women cadre to shout louder. The slogan goes, “Ek nara dil se, Sanjay Bhau phir se.”

She is also looking at contesting the forthcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections later this year, she says. She is a constant in most rallies along with daughter Rajool. The slogans being shouted by the NCP workers are not only in support of ‘Bhau’ or brother as Sanjay Patil is referred to in the constituency, but also a direct attack on the Modi government. Sample this: “Pehle lade the goro se, ab lad rahe hai choro se” (We fought against the British first, now we have to fight the thieves), a reference to the Congress’s jibe “Chowkidaar chor hai.” They also say, “GST aani notebandi la virodh kara” (oppose GST act and demonetisation).

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