Medha Patkar contesting Lok Sabha election from Vikhroli East of Mumbai holds new promises for the poorest section of the constituency
Abhishek Choudhary | March 24, 2014
Last week Medha Patkar, the well-known social and politician activist who recently made news as AAP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Mumbai’s North East, was on a padyatra around Tagore Nagar slums in Vikhroli East. Along the way she greeted young and old people, patted small children, asked people to ‘think and vote’.
Patkar and her supporters handed out caps to people amidst slogans: “Raajneeti badalni hai, saadgi laani hai”, “Niklo apne makaano se, jang lado baimano se”, “Nari shakti aayi hai, nayi shakti layi hai.” Her campaigners, many of whom have been associated with her for years, are from different parts of Maharashtra, but also from Kolkata, Patna and other places.
In this foot-march at Vikhroli, she asked people to vote for ‘Jharoo’ (broom, the AAP symbol). “Congress and BJP are united in corruption and play divisionary politics,” she said. “We have entered politics after 40 years, and will fight with dignity.”
“Three hundred millionaires in parliament have done nothing to help poor who continue to struggle for basic necessities. Corruption is breeding inefficiency. Nitin Gadkari, Eknath Khade, Jyant Patil , Rajesh Tope, are involved in corruption of sale and purchase of cooperative units in Maharashtra. Framers have suffered and politicians amassed wealth. Hiranandani was given 230 acres of land at 40 paise per acre. Elected representatives do not give accounts to people.” She asked people to come out with their own demands.
“Highways, flyovers, monorails, BMC—all are riddled with corruption. Politics is not in favour of poor. I was at Shivaji Nagar slums (Mankhud) last evening and saw there is no water. Women have to walk far to get water.”
“AAP is fighting against corruption. Kejriwal’s agenda is good and Medha tai’s work inspired me to join her,” said Mohammad Hanif Kodijal, who joined AAP in December, and is a resident of Vikhroli East, a Muslim belt.
Kodijal said that for the past many years, the community has been asking their elected representatives to provide them a crematorium but none helped. “Now andolan is the only way out for us and no one does this better than Patkar.” He was confident that 75 percent Muslim votes in the area will go to AAP and feels Shiv Sena votes can be easily garnered by Patkar. He believed that the success in Delhi assembly elections will be replicated here and added that people must exercise the option on NOTA.
Uday Mohite, another supporter of Patkar, added: “this time we are lucky that someone like ‘tai’ is with us. Every small child knows her. Her support to AAP, that too as their candidate, is the party’s good luck. She is their Maharashrian face who everyone knows—that for decades she worked selflessly for people. People are fed up with promise after promise by parties.”
Residents in Vikhroli have been fighting to have a good hospital, as the land is available in the area, but the two BMC hospitals have poor service. Lack of crematorium and a petrol pump from Mulund to Chembur are other issues here.
Another AAP worker, Kishen Gopal, said, “Patkar is a strong woman. I am confident of change with Patkar’s victory. All her life she fought for poor people’s rights. If Patkar loses, it’s people’s bad luck.”
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