Civic polls good for Valentine's Day lovers

Too busy with politics as election day nears, Sena likely to skip its annual ritual of Valentine's Day protests; insiders say many party workers also feel they should not antagonise young voters

Shiv Sena supporters and city functionaries have indicated that this Valentine's Day will be an exception of sorts for them as they would rather concentrate on preparations for the civic election scheduled on Thursday than perform the role of moral police at popular hangouts, reprimanding couples in love for public display of affection.

Repeat unlikely: Shiv Sena activists ask young couples celebrating
Valentine's Day last year at Peshwe Park to leave. file pic

For Shiv Sena activists, the successful organisation of a political rally of party executive president Uddhav Thackeray is more important than anything else, so much so that even the annual February 14 protests against Valentine's Day do not seem to be on the agenda this year. "Our supporters and candidates are busy with the election campaign. Moreover, our executive president Uddhav Thackeray is holding a rally so we are extremely busy," said Shiv Sena city unit chief Nana Wadekar. Party insiders also said that Shiv Sena workers were not in a mood to upset young voters by opposing Valentine's Day.

February 14, last year: Shiv Sena activists ask young couples
celebrating Valentine's Day last year at Peshwe Park to leave. File pic

Welcome news
The change in Shiv Sena's stand is welcome news for the youth. They say they will celebrate this Valentine's Day without fear. Nilesh Mukund Bhor, a young sound engineer, said he was not aware there would not be any moral policing this year but now he would certainly make the day special for his fianc �e.

"Earlier we were scared to celebrate the day as we feared protests by the moral brigade. But this year we will go out for a long drive and make the day very special," he said. Roopesh K P, assistant operations manager, Next Education, echoed Bhor's sentiments. "Love can't be categorised as being against anyone's culture. In spite of protests, people who want to celebrate this day will find a way to do whatever it takes to make this day special," he said.

Pradeep Kumar, operations manager at a leading MNC, said "We live in a democratic country and not under dictatorship. If people want to celebrate their love, why should there be protests against it? People who protest against peaceful celebrations have lost their dignity, common sense and respect for others, including respect for love," Kumar said. "I have compiled all photographs of me and my love and other little things that have a special significance. We will be going out and having a memorable time together."

Police vigilant
The police said they were going to be extremely vigilant and that police presence would be ensured at most places to maintain law and order. DCP Sanjay Jadhav, who is temporarily heading the Special Branch, said the police were alert and prepared to tackle any untoward incident if it happened. "We have identified popular hangouts of youngsters and police presence will be more in such areas," he said.

Young people make their plans
Nilesh and Akanksha Bhor
Plan to go out for a long drive and 'make the day very special'

Roopesh and Anjali
Roopesh says people who want to celebrate V-Day will find a way

Pradeep Kumar and Meghu
Will be going out and 'having a memorable time together'

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