In 2002, the Shiv Sena wooed Mumbaiites with its ‘Mee Mumbaikar’ campaign. Now, ally-turned-rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has given it a spin. Its campaign’s tagline, ‘Mee khara Mumbaikar’, or, I am the real Mumbaikar’, has started appearing on billboards in some parts of the city, and the battle for the nation’s richest civic body has turned into a fight over who owns the city and its residents.
This new look of the campaign is likely to also appear in print and television advertisements from next week.
The campaign, which the BJP said has been “ground-tested” with all sections of the city, is an attempt to capture Mumbai’s spirit and BJP’s vision for it.
It also challenges the Sena’s claim of being connected to the city with an umblical chord and its notion that the first right of the city goes to the Marathi manoos.
“Our campaign addresses every citizen living in the city, whether it’s is fisherfolk or north Indians. It is an aim to capture the spirit of the city that is inclusive and cosmopolitan. The campaign will showcase the chief minister’s vision for Mumbai and our PM Narendra Modi’s central tenet of “Sab ka saath Sab ka Vikas” (development for all),’’ said Shweta Shalini, BJP spokesperson, also in charge of the party’s election war room.
All posters and advertisement material will be headlined by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They will also feature party president Amit Shah, state president Raosaheb Danve and city chief Ashish Shelar .
Other buzz words for the BJP’s campaign are ‘transparency’ and ‘transformation’. The party has started a Twitter handle BJP4MCCGM, a Facebook page and a website, all solely to target young voters during the campaign.
In short, if the campaign material is anything to go by, the “real” Mumbaiite is one who will vote for performance and development. The campaign will showcase the proposed metro network, Shivaji memorial, coastal road, CCTV cameras and the host of other projects that were proposed and implemented over the past two years by the Fadnavis government. The BJP has also appropriated Maratha king Shivaji in a big way in its campaign, in a direct challenge to the Sena which has so far claimed rights over his legacy.
In October, Mumbai city chief Shelar had first released the party’s Mee Mumbai campaign, which has now been developed further. The party has carefully cultivated non-Maharashtrian votes in its favour for the upcoming polls and is now focussing on making a dent in the traditional Marathi votebank of the Sena.