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The Battle for Maharashtra

Gawli's party: By invitation only!

Rujuta Paradkar in Mumbai | October 16, 2004 22:05 IST
Last Updated: October 17, 2004 00:23 IST

The trip to Dagdi Chawal was easy. Every boy on the road knew where 'Daddy' lived.

"Just follow the sound of the crackers, madamjee," said a cyclist.

The drumbeats got louder; the sound of crackers was deafening and the smoke could mislead the untrained eye.

Also Read: 'They can't get me killed. I am an MLA'

But the man who had emerged victorious had to be visited.

The gate was decorated with flowers. Of course, one had to pass through a lot of security check.

But once inside, it was larger than Diwali and Holi put together.

Welcome to Arun Gawli's party!

The don-turned-politician, who is called 'Daddy' and who founded the Akhil Bharatiya Sena, surprised everyone by winning from Mumbai's Chinchpokli constituency.

Just as it was easy to find Gawli, it was extremely difficult to get a glimpse of him.

The entire media waited with bated breath for Gawli's first post-win press conference.

We were told to remove our shoes and wait in a small room with a colour TV that buzzed with election updates. Several reporters squabbled over which channel to watch as each one wanted to see the TV channel s/he represented. The remote control, of course stayed in the hands of Gawli's man.

The media desperately tried to get Gawli's attention. Some pleaded, some argued and others threatened to leave.

The best was when a senior reporter walked in wearing a t-shirt that read, 'I am Daddy.'

Three hours had passed and the journalists were furious. Finally the press asserted its right. After a lot of noise, and more waiting, Gawli had to meet the press.

After all, we were there by invitation only.

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