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Congress workers: 'We did nothing wrong'

Last updated on: May 16, 2014 17:59 IST

Congress workers: 'We did nothing wrong'

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Abhishek Mande Bhot/Rediff.com

The counting for the Mumbai North West constituency is taking place at the NESCO grounds, just off the Western Express highway, one of the city's arterial roads.

It is way past the morning peak hours, but the crowd gathered outside the counting station has caused a bottleneck in vehicular traffic.

After months of campaigning, it has all come down to this. Workers of the Congress party and the BJP have congregated here to get a firsthand report of how their parties have performed.

Photographer Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com and Abhishek Mande Bhot/Rediff.com have parked themselves outside the gates along with the workers.

Snapshots from the remains of the day:

Gaffar Patel looks agonised.

Patel is looking at a piece of paper in disbelief. On the paper, he has been scribbling the votes tally of all parties and at the end of the second round of counting, the numbers are looking dismal.

His leader, Gurudas Kamat, is in the running for the Mumbai North West Lok Sabha seat.

He has been trailing by a margin that gets wider with every successive phase of the counting.

"We could not publicise our achievements. They (the BJP) sold lies to the public. And the public bought it!" he says.

"We've done so much here (in Mumbai)! The monorail, the metro, the freeway..."

"We couldn't get the word out."

Patel, a Muslim, says he isn't afraid of Narendra Modi because "there is no reason to."

"I would like to see how he performs now," he says.

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Image: A stunned Congress supporter in Mumbai.
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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Abhishek Mande Bhot/Rediff.com

Rohan Pawaskar is fuming.

A lawyer, he has just told off his boss over the phone: "No appointment today, sir. It's counting day!"

Pawaskar is one of the few Congress party workers standing outside the counting centre in Goregaon, suburban Mumbai, hoping for a last-minute turnaround.

Increasingly, that possibility has been looking weak.

"Look at how much we've done for this country!" he says animatedly.

"Development hasn't been our weak area."

Pawaskar believes his party did nothing wrong.

"Look around you -- the metro, the monorail..." he lists out a seemingly prepared list.

"If the public wants change, what can we do? We did nothing wrong. Rahul Gandhi is not a weak leader. I feel sad for the citizens of India," he says in an accusatory tone.

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Image: The police keep eager party workers in line.
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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Abhishek Mande Bhot/Rediff.com

Leader Singh is president of the BJP's youth wing in the Kalina state assembly constituency.

"How hard the US tried to prevent granting Modiji a visa! Now they won't have an option!" he says smugly.

"The country is tired of the Congress party's misrule. The election results have proven that."

Nisar Khan of the Shiv Sena echoes this.

He says he has been a Sena worker for the last 45 years and has met the late Sena founder Bal Thackeray several times "looking this way" (points at himself; he sports a beard and a skull cap).

On being asked what he thinks of his party's communal and anti-Muslim image, Khan replies with a straight face: "The Shiv Sena isn't communal! Look at me!"


Image: The Shiv Sena's Nisar Khan airs his views.
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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