The wave of the Maharashtra state assembly elections has all 36 constituencies busy in campaigning sprees, atleast when it comes to the BJP. For the truth is, in most of them, the Opposition is not even visible. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Vile Parle Assembly constituency. On Friday, with 24 hours to go before all is supposed to go silent in preparation of voting on Monday, there was very little activity here. Such is the complacency, so sure are the people of the outcome, that not even the BJP itself seemed particularly energetic when we visited in the early afternoon.
With most rallies within the area already coming to a halt, we spoke to an anonymous BJP party worker who calmly suggested that the Congress party had ‘given up’
A Gujarati and Marathi dominated constituency, Vile Parle is home to a large number of BJP supporters. In the 2014 state assembly elections, BJP MLA Parag Alavani won the Vile Parle Assembly seat by defeating Shashikant Patkar of the Shiv Sena by 32,435 votes.
Standing opposite Alavani for the elections this time is Indian National Congress leader Jayanti Jivabhai Siroya. The 55-year old former corporate has a credible political record by boasting a total of 5081 votes in the 2012 Corporation Elections. However, after assessing the mood inside the BJP office at Vile Parle, it can be said with surety that the BJP party is confident about winning majority votes from the constituencies’ voters. People living in the area also confess to having not spotted a single campaign proceeding of the Congress party, making it seem like the BJP has made a complete mockery of the Congress’ chances to win in the area.
On issues like redressal of grievances, “Online grievance forms are now available and a specific complaint about the reconstruction of the Vile Parle station bridge was taken up,” the BJP worker said. This issue advanced quicker than most people expected, and the bridge was soon built within a time period of two months.
Sources also say that a certain slum that was “controlled” by the Congress Party, is now slowly changing sides. Many of those who came forward with grievances as well as an offer to help the BJP party’s campaigning activities were predominantly youngsters, it was claimed.
Pre-election preparations of the Congress party seems to be particularly low key. No banners, no posters being put up, no parades and no sight of Jayanti Jivabhai Siroya.
Vile Parle is Constituency number 167 and has a total of 2,61,378 electors. The constituency has also become the second major education centre after the area between Churchgate and Charni Road. It is also the location of the Parle biscuit factory and is proudly regarded by its residents as a clean and safe place in which to reside.
Written by Journalism Students Prathik and Kunal
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