BMC officials rope in veteran folk artiste Bhiva Kakde, whose religious songs wake up many Mumbaikars every morning, to create awareness about the February 21 municipal elections.
Bhiva Kakde, who hops from one neighbourhood to another at dawn announcing a new day’s arrival through devotional songs, has introduced a new chant in his sacred performance for the first time in 69 years since he started it.
“Please vote on February 21,” the 82-year-old vasudev sings for sleepy Mumbaikars, who don’t possess the best record when it comes to casting ballots in municipal elections.
Kakde, who hails from a family of wandering folk artistes and Lord Krishna worshippers, has been making the appeal since January 21 at the request of the BMC, which is employing new methods to draw more voters to the booths.
Kakde visits two to three neighbourhoods every morning, using a song-and-dance routine perfected over nearly seven decades to highlight the importance of voting. He is joined by college students who are part of Mumbai University’s ‘National Service Scheme’.
In the past few weeks, the veteran vasudev and college students have held rallies in various localities in the city, encouraging people to vote. The students carry posters and banners with the message and walk behind Kakde, giving him space to perform.
“Matdaan kara ho matdaan kara. Mazya bhavano, matdaan kara,” he sang and danced during a rally in Borivali on Wednesday.
Students from Bhausaheb Vartak College were accompanying him. Kakde prodded them to sing louder and show more energy even as some youngsters gathered around him for a selfie.
“The sight of these kids fills me with enthusiasm. I dance a bit more on these election rallies,” Kakde said.
Satyavan Mestry, an election inspector for the BMC, said the vasudev’s message was proving to be very effective. “We are very happy that he is helping us. He is a big attraction,” he said.