In an interactive session with Mumbai's youngsters, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram urged them to vote for better governance
P Chidambaram arrives to attend an interactive session on Real Estate at Andheri yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan
‘Vote for better governance, and not a better government. Mumbai is crying for a change’ – were the words that former Finance Minister P Chidambaram stressed on as he addressed the city’s youth at Bandra Fort on Sunday. He also visited different parts of the city, which included meeting Lokhandwala residents and members of Dharavi’s Tamil community, and urged them to get inked in the BMC elections.
Interacting with students and young professionals, Chidambaram asked them to vote consciously as the present government was in a ‘pitiable’ condition. Students, who actively took part in the session, asked him questions related to corruption, transparency and BMC’s work in the recent years.
Just a lie
Calling ‘demonetisation a tool to stop the flow of black money’ a blatant lie, he said, “It's an invasion of privacy. People should not be forced to reveal their transactions.” “The PM wants to make a cashless society. Do you expect a woman selling coconut cakes to take out a swipe machine and complete the transaction? That's impossible. I support the fight against corruption but not in this way,” he added.
In bad taste
Apart from raising concern over demonetisation, Chidambaram also spoke about the recent spat in Rajya Sabha after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that former PM Manmohan Singh had the ‘art of bathing with the raincoat on’.
“It was in extremely bad taste. It would have been okay if he said that in a party meeting. But saying it on the floor of the Parliament is not acceptable. It's a very sacred place and we must respect it,” he said.
Speaking to mid-day, Head of ‘Operation Black Dot’ - a group formed by the State Election Commission to encourage the youth to vote in the BMC elections, Ruben Mascarenhas said, “We are trying to bridge the gap between the youngsters and the city’s politics. It’s been only a few weeks and already over 10 lakh youths have pledged to vote.” He further said, “We will increase Mumbai’s young vote bank, which at present is abysmally low. From simplifying the election process to giving special directives to Mumbai University students to vote, the response has been extremely positive.”
Students present at the event seemed to be very excited about voting for the upcoming polls. A 20-year-old Mumbai University student Nikita Waghela said, “I have never given a vote, but now I realise that it’s important to be informed about the city and the people who govern it.” Social worker Rubina Shiekh, who was also present said, “We should not be just informed, but also a part of the decision making process.”
Taking a dig at BJP and Shiv Sena, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, who was present for the interactive session along with Chidambaram said, “The failure to provide water to Mumbaikars is a criminal act. Theft and leakage have been the main reasons behind it. If we come to power, these things will stop.”