Mumbai: Wheelchair-Bound Centenarian Freedom Fighter Will Cast His Vote To Inspire Voters In Phase 5

Mumbai: Wheelchair-Bound Centenarian Freedom Fighter Will Cast His Vote To Inspire Voters In Phase 5

Dr G.G. Parikh, who is popularly known as GG among his acquaintances, was a part of the Indian freedom struggle.

Dhairya GajaraUpdated: Saturday, May 18, 2024, 11:19 PM IST
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Dr G.G. Parikh | SALMAN ANSARI

Mumbai: While the average voter turnout in Maharashtra in the four phases was recorded at just 62.9%, a centenarian freedom fighter will cast his vote in Mumbai on Monday to become a role model of a responsible citizen of the country, who has voted in every election of the independent India.

Dr G.G. Parikh, who is popularly known as GG among his acquaintances, was a part of the Indian freedom struggle and has been a forerunner in post-independence movements like Samyukta Maharashtra movement and the Goa liberation movement. Although being a part of political movements and ideologies throughout his life, Parekh never contested an election as he believed it to be a compromise towards his work of social upliftment but has made sure that he exercises his democratic right to vote in every election.

Talking to the Free Press Journal, GG recalled the days of his first arrest when he planned picketing at the Churchgate railway station in Mumbai and tried to stop all the trains from leaving the station. As a child who was inspired by his family members’ involvement in the struggle, motivated by Bhagat Singh’s bravery and influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology, Parikh went to jail for the first time as a teenager, but when he was released, he had already turned into a ‘neta’, who was looked up to by the people.

“The second time I went to jail for a long period was during the emergency implemented by Indira Gandhi. Anticipating arrest, I did not visit my home for months but the government arrested me anyhow for planning satyagrahas and assisting other protestors. Although I had to spend 18 months in jail, I do not see Gandhi as a dictator. She was surely an authoritarian because she did not arrest SM Joshi and Nanasaheb (Uttamrao Patil),” he said.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Mumbai recorded an average of 55.28% voter turnout in the six constituencies, which was even lower in 2014 at just 51.59%. This year, the average voter turnout for the first phase of elections in Maharashtra was recorded at 63.7%, phase two at 62.7%, phase three at 63.6% and phase four at 62.2%. As Mumbai will go into polling in the fifth phase on Monday, Parikh appealed to all the Mumbaikars to vote for the sustainability of democracy.

“The voters of this age have been served the freedom and rights on a platter, they did not have to fight for independence, for democracy or for rights of women. Therefore we do not understand the worth of the voting process. When we don’t vote, we are pushing ourselves to a democratic deficit,” Parekh added.

Bound to a wheelchair for the last few years, Parekh will make sure that he exercises his right and duty on Monday and casts his vote for the nation. A centenarian wheelchair-bound freedom fighter, who has demanded accountability from every government of independent India, will inspire other people to participate in this festival of democracy and will vote for the eighteenth time in the Lok Sabha elections.

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