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Poll candidates must be literate locals who are Muslim: Govandi residents

Updated on: 24 June,2024 06:58 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Eshan Kalyanikar |

Social activists in area to conduct two-month door-to-door campaign to inform residents about value of their vote

Poll candidates must be literate locals who are Muslim: Govandi residents

The venue of the Govandi Democratic Front meeting on Sunday

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Poll candidates must be literate locals who are Muslim: Govandi residents

Months before the Assembly polls, social activists in Govandi have resolved to ensure that parties nominate only a Muslim, local and literate candidate for their Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar constituency. Starting on Monday, they will conduct a door-to-door awareness campaign to inform voters about the value of their vote and to urge them not to support candidates who rely on excessive money or muscle power.

A meeting in this regard, under the banner of the ‘Govandi Democratic Front’, was held on Sunday with about 30 citizen groups in the area as well as political party workers from both Shiv Sena factions, Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party.

“For several years, this seat has been held by the Samajwadi Party, which has not benefited our constituency and has instead increased criminal activities. Govandi is still falling behind on crucial developmental markers,” said Ateeque Ahmad, an activist with the Govandi Welfare Association, who presided over the meeting.
He added that there will be a strong push for an educated Muslim candidate for the upcoming polls. “Our door-to-door campaign will last for two months. People will be made aware of how various systems of governance work and what they should expect from their elected representatives. We will also assist in issuing new voter IDs and help people check their names in the electoral rolls,” Ahmad said.

Since 2009, Samajwadi Party’s Abu Azmi has held the Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar Assembly constituency, winning in 2019 by 69,082 votes. His closest competitor, Vitthal Lokre of the undivided Shiv Sena, now with Sena (UBT), received 43,481 votes.

The undivided Sena has never fielded a Muslim candidate for this Muslim-majority Assembly constituency. Recently, Sena (UBT)’s Sanjay Dina Patil won the Mumbai North East parliamentary seat, which includes the Mankhurd Assembly segment, defeating BJP’s Mihir Kotecha. Patil’s victory is credited to the newly formed Marathi-Muslim voter base, securing 1,16,072 votes from Mankhurd alone.

In the last state election, another significant contender was Suraiya Akbar Shaikh of Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi, who secured 10,465 votes. “We invited VBA cadres, but they have not yet responded,” Ahmad noted.

The ‘Govandi Democratic Front’ also includes student and teacher organisations alongside Govandi’s united doctors’ association. Yasir Abdullah, expansion secretary of the Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO), said, “We want residents here to understand their democratic rights and responsibilities. Even now, there is a lack of quality educational and health facilities and people’s vote can bring about change.”

Faiyaz Alam, another Govandi activist, said, “We have established criteria for the candidates we want. If parties fail to meet these standards, a social activist will stand as an independent candidate.”

No. of years Abu Azmi has held Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar seat

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