Cops grant record number of road show permissions for one day in current poll campaign; city witnesses hectic electioneering as politicians big and small take advantage of holiday to reach out to maximum number of voters.

Roads in the city yesterday, which was the last Sunday before polling day on Thursday, were chock-a-block with several rallies by political heavyweights as well as local leaders, who took advantage of the fact that maximum voters would be available for public interactions on the holiday.

Big guns fire: BJP senior leader Gopinath Munde addresses a sabha
at Gosavi Wasti in Hadapsar yesterday

Unlike Saturday, when rallies were held mostly by political bigwigs like NCP chief Sharad Pawar and MNS president Raj Thackeray, Sunday witnessed almost all local leaders and candidates moving through their respective panels and meeting voters.

Narayan Rane
Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane addresses a rally at Parvati Gaon

Even city police officials observed more constituency-level rallies by candidates and granted a record number of permissions for road shows in a single day during the current election campaign. The office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 1) alone saw 130 permissions being granted, where 126 permissions were granted by the local police stations concerned and four by the DCP's office.

Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athavale at a road show in

DCP (Traffic) Vishwas Pandhare said the day saw more rallies compared to any other day last week. "There is intense political activity today (Sunday) compared to any other day last week and appropriate steps for regulating traffic have also been taken," he said yesterday. Permissions for rallies are granted by various departments in the city police, including the Special Branch and Zonal DCPs, depending on the size of the area the rally covers.

Permissions for the massive road shows conducted by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and MNS Chief Raj Thackeray were granted by the DCP (Special Branch). Local political leaders also said they received greater response to the sabhas organised by their political bosses. Congress leader Ulhas Pawar, who was participating in party leader and Revenue Minister Narayan Rane's sabha in Karve Nagar, said the party was making optimum use of the weekend to reach out to its voters and workers.

"The work done by our workers has already strengthened the grip over the voters and the leaders present in the city today (Sunday) pointed out the selfless work done by the Congress party for the betterment of the city," he said. MNS leader Ravindra Dhangekar said he participated in smaller events organised by the party in various panels, which received a good response.

"We hosted a small gathering for children in Raviwar Peth and also met senior citizens in the Kasba Peth area," he said. BJP candidate from Panel Number 52 Mahesh Ladkat said he toured all the slums in the morning and met all his voters. "The response was overwhelming, which shows the faith my supporters have reposed in me," Ladkat said. The city also saw BJP leader Gopinath Munde addressing a sabha in Hadapsar and a rally by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar of the NCP.

In numbers
Permissions for yesterday's rallies granted by various police stations under the DCP Zone 1
Khadak police station: 38
Faraskhana police station: 22
Vishrambaug police station: 9
Shivajinagar police station: 2
Kothrud police station: 40
Warje police station: 14
Permissions granted by DCP Zone 1: Four
(Two of these four were for huge rallies by the Jagrut Matadar Vicharwadi Sangh for spreading awareness about the importance of voting and two rallies were held by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena candidate Rupali Patil)