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Dahisar slum residents ready to press NOTA in Lok Sabha Elections 2019

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Disillusioned with politicians for not solving their problems, several residents of Ganpat Patil Nagar, a slum colony in Mumbai’s Dahisar, have decided to opt for the NOTA (none of the above) option in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 07, 2019 15:13 IST
Ankita Bhatkande
Ankita Bhatkande
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
dahisar,ganpat patil nagar dahisar,lok sabha elections 2019
Being in a Coastal Regulatory Zone, Ganpat Patil Nagar in Mumbai’s Dahisar is considered illegal, as a result of which the civic body has not provided residents with water and electricity. Many residents of the colony have decided to opt for NOTA in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. (HT Photo )

Several residents of Ganpat Patil Nagar, a slum colony in Dahisar and one of the biggest in Mumbai, have decided to not vote for any political party in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. For them, the NOTA (none of the above) option in the electronic voting machines is perfect as no political party has been able to solve their issues for the past few years. The slum colony that spreads across 30 acres has more than 15,000 eligible voters and around 10,000 shanties.

Being in a Coastal Regulatory Zone, the settlement is considered illegal as a result of which the civic body has not provided residents with water and electricity. Residents, however, said parties have time and again promised to give them electricity and water, but say that these promises have not gone beyond election gimmicks.

“Over the past few years, politicians have done nothing about the issues of people here. With no electricity and water, mafias are thriving in this place, giving illegal connections at a high cost. Just before elections, however, politicians come here and ask us to vote for them. This year, we are tired of their false promises and have thus decided to press the NOTA button,” said Sanjay Sharma, a resident, who works as a carpenter.

Currently, residents pay Rs 900 a month for two points of electricity, which they say lasts only for three hours every day. Families often buy 3-5 gallons of water from a few local ‘agents’, which costs them up to Rs 100 a day. “If the settlement is illegal, why are politicians not acting on the mafias here and stopping all these illegalities?” asked Awdhesh Mishra, who runs a small shop in the locality.

Ram Yadav, an activist who works in the area, said despite such a huge number of voters, no party has taken their issues seriously.

“There are some people who are living here since the early 1990s. They have documentary evidence of the same. Even as they are eligible for a home as per government policy, no party is supporting them. The public has thus decided to not entertain any party this time,” he added.

Gopal Shetty, MP from Mumbai-North, under whose jurisdiction the settlement falls, said the government would try its best to give homes to those eligible. “We are trying our best to do what we can for these people. But the shanties are expanding day by day and are often causing a big inconvenience to other residents in the area, which is making their case complicated. Residents should not worry as those eligible will get their homes anyway.”

First Published: Mar 07, 2019 15:13 IST