Mumbai: Barely a week before Mumbai votes for the Lok Sabha elections, residents of Mahul village, Chembur have decided to boycott the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in all parliamentary, assembly, and local body elections. This can spell troubles for the joint candidate of BJP and Shiv Sena – Rahul Shewale, who is looking for a second term from the South Central Mumbai constituency.
The residents have decided against voting for BJP in all elections owing to ‘false’ assurances and promises made by the ruling party. They claim that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and his BJP has fooled the residents and they continue to do so, from over two years. Mahul, the toxic hell of Mumbai has been in news for over two years now, owing to the rampant air pollution, which has claimed at least 200 lives in the area.
Residents claim there is at least one death on a daily basis. Apart from this, air pollution has become a root cause for the respiratory and tuberculosis like diseases, which hundreds of residents are suffering from in the area. The residents, at least 35000 in numbers, have demanded immediate rehabilitation to some other ‘safe’ place. Similar was the opinion of the IIT-B as well as the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which too have labelled Mahul as an ‘unsafe place for humans.’
Even the Bombay High Court had earlier this month directed the government to pay Rs 15000 as rent for these residents to shift to some other places on a rental basis. The residents have been fighting right on the roads too. They have been on a protest from last 177 days.
They are agitating in Ghatkopar, near the residence of housing minister Prakash Mehta, who they had gheraoed earlier this year. Despite all this, the BJP-led government has failed to rehabilitate these residents and thus they have now decided to boycott the saffron party. “We have decided not to vote for BJP in any elections.
This party is only fooling us from last two years. It appears this party is not at all considering us as humans,” said Anita Dhole, a representative of Mahul residents. “We have been complaining from so many days. We met the CM, who appointed a committee and we were then assured that soon we will be rehabilitated to safer places.
But there is no change in the situation,” Dhole alleged. The residents think they made a ‘big mistake’ in bringing the BJP to power in 2014. “Many of us thought the BJP may bring acche din for us too and thus voted for it. But we were wrong. The party has done nothing for us, so far,” said Dhole.
“Thus, it is a collective decision that all of us, approximately more than 30000 voters, would not cast vote for lotus,” Dhole added.