Political parties vying to lure voters ahead of an election is not uncommon. With the 2019 Lok Sabha elections round the corner, political parties in Maharashtra are luring voters more than ever before. The trouble is, they have no regard or care to either — the law or those whom they are exploiting for votes. Every major political party in the state is guilty of this.
For instance, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took to Aaj Tak’s platform of ‘Mumbai Manthan’ last week to assure the safety of every person in the state.
Barely two days later, BJP’s ally Shiv Sena made headlines by reportedly beating up a family of three, including an aged lady.
The family’s crime? Hailing from North India, residing in Mumbai, setting up a stall to sell Frankies and make a living. Shiv Sainiks allegedly destroyed the stall and attacked the family.
The question now arises about whether the Shiv Sena is genuinely interested in employment opportunities for the natives. If that is the case, why don’t they help the 'sons of the soil' set up stalls and earn a livelihood? Instead, the Sainiks seem to be keener on garnering eyeballs of the media rather than practicing what they have been preaching for years.
As the double standards of the ruling party and its allies come to the fore, the public has to bear the worst of the repercussions of electoral politics.
For instance, recently, the Maharastra Navnirman Sena (MNS) held a press conference, in which they apparently produced a migrant from Bihar and accused him of allegedly molesting a two-and-half-year-old girl. No police was called, no complaint was filed – the MNS workers roughed up the man in full view of cameras at the press conference. The party workers went on to issue a warning to the police that they will take the law into their own hands if the authorities did not act against ‘perverts’ from the northern states.
In another incident earlier this month, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam said Mumbai will come to a standstill and its people will not even get food to eat, if the north Indian community in the city decided to stop working. He added that the north Indian community was supplying milk, newspapers and vegetables to the people of the megapolis, besides providing autorickshaw and taxi services, and should not be forced to take such a step.
His comments, as expected, attracted sharp responses from the MNS.
The MNS workers went on to challenge the Congress leader to bring Mumbai to a halt, and also reportedly put up posters showing Nirupam as a "stray dog".
It does not stop there.
The Shiv Sena has suddenly woken up after four years to the fact that its ally – the BJP – has not done anything to further the promise of constructing the Ram temple in Ayodhya. Hence, the mantle has been taken up by the Shiv Sainiks now who have launched the slogan — ‘Chalo Ayodhya, Chalo Varanasi’, banking on the sentiments of the majority electorate. One may well question — why has it taken the Sainiks four years to wake up to this reality?
Ahead of the elections, every party is vying to make its electoral base feel important enough to harness their votes. And in this contest, they seem to have lost sight that the ‘vote banks’ they are wooing are actually living, breathing human beings. The same human beings who are suffering endlessly in the mill of vote bank politics.
The same human beings whose cry for help has fallen on the deaf ears of those pretending to fight for them.