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MNS, Shiv Sena in Wi-Fi tug of war [DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India)]
[July 18, 2014]

MNS, Shiv Sena in Wi-Fi tug of war [DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India)]

(DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) With the state assembly elections fast approaching, the Shiv Sena and the MNS are locked in a battle of claiming credit for setting up a Wi-Fi network at the Shivaji Park grounds at Dadar.

However, party insiders regret that the real concerns of the Marathi manoos and the common man at large are being ignored during these superficial battles.

On Tuesday, the Shiv Sena launched its free WiFi service at the Shivaji Park, whose precincts house the Maharashtrian cultural elite, just sometime before the MNS. The two parties, who compete for the same sons-of-soil vote base are also engaged in claiming credit for the service. The MNS also launched a similar WiFi service at another Maharashtrian stronghold - Vile Parle (East) on Sunday.

"Putting up routers in houses and allowing people access - is this public WiFi?" questioned MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande, who led his party's wireless-internet trust in Shivaji Park.

However, Yuva Sena leader Samadhan Sarvankar, who is former Dadar MLA Sada Sarvankar's son, said that it was the Sena's plan to provide free WiFi access to people. The same was mentioned in their BMC election manifesto.

"Politics has reached its nadir. It cannot go lower," admitted a senior Shiv Sena leader. "Any political party has to focus on life and death issues bothering the common man like affordable housing, access to basic necessities and jobs," he added, noting that such WiFi projects served only urban, middle class Indians. "This is a shallow political competition," noted Surendra Jondhale, professor, University of Mumbai. He added that Mumbai-centric issues like potholes, poor infrastructure, pending reconstruction of old buildings and the cleaning of Mithi river were being neglected.

Roads used by walkers out of wi-fi range More and more walkers prefer to walk not on the tracks around Shivaji Park but on the roads surrounding it. This is because of dilapidated and slippery pavements and tracks around the park. Ironically, these roads, which are preferred by walkers, seem to be out of the WiFi range of the services provided by the Senas. The narrow lanes that surround the park are already crowded with two-sided parking, and in the morning, when hordes of runners run in large groups, it becomes almost impossible for vehicles to navigate through them, especially during the rains. Proliferation of stray dogs, who chase people at times, also serves as a scare for local residents and walkers. Local resident Shashank Chube told dna, said that while he was a regular jogger at Shivaji Park, he only did so on the roads. The pavements are, according to him, much too slippery and irregular to jog during the rains.


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