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This Ganeshotsav, netas woo voters with free travel tickets, cash prizes – Times of India

THANE: Citizens are likely to be pampered this festive season as keeping in mind the approaching polls, netas and political parties are pulling out all stops to ensure they shower their prospective voters with festive goodies, including free travel to native places, ritual kits and cash prizes for household Ganpati decorations.
The Shiv Sena, led by chief minister Eknath Shinde, has hired nearly 1,500 buses from across Mumbai, Thane and suburbs to ferry local residents to their native lands in Konkan and Western Maharashtra. “We have already started registrations and expect to ferry over 60,000 people one way before Tuesday. The Konkani and Marathi maanoos have always supported the Sena, and this is a small token of our gratitude which we have followed every year,” informed Sena spokesperson Naresh Mhaske.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and the Sharad Pawar group of the NCP are also plying buses to Konkan from old Thane and Kalwa, respectively, ahead of the season. NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad said he has written to the Railways to operate locals throughout the night during the festive season. “Families often travel around the city till late in the night to meet relatives and get Bappa’s darshan but face inconvenience due to limited trains post-midnight. I have written to the Railways to consider operating 24×7 trains, especially those connecting far suburbs during the Ganeshotsav,” said Awhad.
Not to be left behind, the Ajit Pawar-led NCP and Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik have independently announced cash prizes for sarvajanik and domestic Bappa decorations. While the NCP has organised cash prizes for sarvajanik mandals with good decoration and social causes extending up to Rs 51,000, Sarnaik said he has prizes collectively worth Rs 9 lakh, mainly for household Bappa decorations. Political observers say such festive occasions present the perfect platform for netas and parties to reinforce their dominions.

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