Mumbai: Political parties wooing voters with freebies

Eyeing Ganpati mandals whose supporters run into hundreds, political parties are offering Ashtavinayak darshan, Diwali parties and other freebies to lure them into voting for them

With voting day approaching, political parties are doing everything they can to lure people to vote for them. In one such move, parties are offering Ganpati mandals and small society mandals in slums and chawl pockets religious trips and picnics in exchange for votes.

Mandals have gone one-up on the parties, demanding to see the tickets for the promised trips before committing to vote for the party. Pic for representation
Mandals have gone one-up on the parties, demanding to see the tickets for the promised trips before committing to vote for the party. Pic for representation

According to a Ganpati mandal in Versova, a political party promised to send 150 people for Asthavinayak darshan a religious tour to visit all eight revered Ganpati temples in the state. Parties are also dangling the ‘free picnic’ carrot to woo voters. An office bearer of a local mandal, requesting anonymity, said, “After winning the elections, these leaders never even show their faces.

But now, they are trying to win us over by offering free Ashtavinayak trips and picnics.” Among other options for the barter deal is arrangement of Diwali parties and organising cricket tournaments. These proposals are made at closed-door meetings held between party workers and representatives of the mandals. Parties are only targeting mandals who can bring in a good number votes, which may be anywhere from 100 to 500.

However, mandals, too, have upped their game and are demanding that the bookings for these promised tours and picnics be made first, before the state goes to polls. “No political party can be trusted, so we are clearly telling them to first book our tickets. Only upon seeing the tour reservations will we trust them and vote for them,” said the member of a mandal from Seven Bungalows in Andheri (West).

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