Mumbai : “Tum Mujhe Yun Bhula Na Paaoge, Jab Kabhi Bhi Sunoge Geet Mere, Sang Sang Gun Gunaoge.” This immortal number by Mohammed Rafi mesmerises any caller wishing to speak with Shahid Rafi, son of the legendary playback singer, who has appropriately made it his caller tune. And there are many who want to speak with him daily in the Mumbadevi assembly constituency – since Shahid is now a candidate of Hyderabad’s Majlise Ittihadul Muslimeen (MIM) for the Oct 15 Maharashtra assembly polls.
The MIM, accused by many of fomenting communal politics, is hoping to make inroads in the state legislature in the elections. Fortunately for Shahid (52), on the political stage, he is not called upon to sing his father’s immortal numbers and regale the people in his small, 60 percent Muslim-dominated south Mumbai constituency. “People are very mature about politics. They listen quietly when I speak, the response from the masses is tremendous and I feel overwhelmed. As for the election outcome, I have left it entirely to the Almighty,” Shahid told IANS, before grabbing a mike to address another public meeting. “This is tough and dirty politics. Here, only political issues count. There is an aggressive opposition, besides many shallow and deep undercurrents at work,” explained a grim party official as Shahid spoke earnestly for his maiden electoral bid.
Time is running short and Rafi has little time to speak about anything but the issues of the congested constituency and his and MIM’s dreams to make life better for all concerned if he is elected. Shahid’s day starts early with brainstorming sessions attended by his party office-bearers and campaign managers, the aide said. “All programmes are fixed up well in advance, but there are times when schedules go awry as hundreds of people crowd around for a glimpse of Shahid as he moves around the constituency,” he admitted.
A Bandra resident, Shahid quickly learnt that an election campaign is a far cry from crooning in the cool, comfortable confines of sound-proof recording studios. “The vocal chords are stretched hoarse with talking to people and speaking in meetings and rallies, moving around the narrow lanes and by-lanes with thousands of people around staring at you, kids running behind,” said the aide, explaining Shahid’s campaign circus.
On his selection of the MIM vis-a-vis other political parties, Shahid maintains that when he visited Hyderabad, he was truly impressed by MIM’s contribution and wanted to be a part of its agenda in Maharashtra.
When asked why he deserted Bandra for Mumbadevi, Shahid said that his father was a national, even international, figure without boundaries. “I got the same response from the people of Bandra and Mumbadevi or any other part of the country, a tribute to the lasting impression my father left on generations with his songs,” Shahid said. —IANS