‘Mumbai Has Lost Its Voice’: City Congress Chief Milind Deora
“We have overcrowded trains and we’re making lofty promises about bullet trains,” points out Mumbai Congress Chief.
Video Editor: Vishal Kumar
“Mumbai sent very poor-quality MPs to Parliament for the last five years and as a result of that, Mumbai has lost its voice,” said Mumbai Congress Chief Milind Deora as he boarded a local train while kicking off his campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Elected barely two weeks ago, amidst reports of massive in-fighting within Congress, the 42-year-old Congress candidate from South Mumbai has a monumental task ahead of him.
But it’s too soon to make any drastic changes to the party dynamics in the city, he says.
“I haven’t changed anything in the organisation. Right now we’re in a war-room phase. The minute the elections end on the 29th of April, that’s when the real work according to me begins in the organisation. And right now, all of the candidates who have been selected by the party from South Mumbai to North Mumbai are capable candidates.”Milind Deora, Mumbai Congress Chief
Deora believes that the government must get its priorities right, while referring to the promises of bullet trains by the Centre. Raking up the recent collapse of the foot-overbridge near the CST station, which claimed 6 lives and injured at least 30 people, the Mumbai Congress chief hit out at the BJP Government.
“I think in a city like Mumbai and in a country like India, we make lofty promises about bullet trains, but we haven’t even fixed the basic amenities. We have foot-overbridges which are collapsing and killing people. We have trains which are overcrowded and we’re making lofty promises about bullet trains. How does that help the average Mumbai crowd? We need to get our priorities right.”Milind Deora, Mumbai Congress Chief
Questioning the quality of candidates being voted to power in the last 5 years, Deora added, “The biggest issue is that, in the last five years, because people voted nationally and did not look at their candidates, Mumbai sent very poor quality MPs to Parliament for the last five years and as a result of that, Mumbai has lost its voice. And I think it’s important for Mumbai to regain its voice nationally and locally, and for that this time I’m urging the people of Mumbai to elect good candidates.”
Focusing on the issue of thousands of families who could end up being displaced due to the redevelopment of the Mumbai Port Trust, Deora is confident that the Congress could resolve the issue if voted to power.
“That’s something that we need to change as government, because the government has been very anti-tenants in Mumbai city and in South Mumbai in particular. Many people who live here are tenants and the government’s policies have been very anti-tenants in the last five years and I’ve always battled for tenants’ rights and tenants’ issues, and that’s something I will continue doing regardless of whether I’m in power or not.”Milind Deora, Mumbai Congress Chief
Deora is set to face off against sitting Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, the second time. Defeating Sawant is not likely to be easy as the latter beat the Congress leader by over 1.2 lakh votes in 2014.
The Congress leader, however, urged Mumbaikars to compare the criminal records of the two before making a decision. "I would urge the people of South Mumbai to compare the criminal cases against me to the criminal cases against him, and they’ll know who the good candidate is," he said.
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