- Mr Khanna, 93, exercised his vote in Mumbai.
- "Today's hero is Khanna-ji," Ms Irani said praising the man's courage.
- Maharashtra election observed lower than expected turnout on Monday.
Union Minister Smriti Irani, who voted in Mumbai today, introduced a 93-year-old man to appeal to people to step out and participate in the voting process in the Maharashtra election.
After casting her vote at a polling booth in the city, Ms Irani was seen having a warm interaction with nonagenarian voter who served in the army, thus sending out the message that there should be no excuses for people to not exercise their democratic right and duty.
"Today's hero is Khanna-ji..." Ms Irani said, referring to the elderly man standing next to her. The minister was taken by surprise when the 93-year-old bent down to touch her feet.
"Khanna-ji is 93. He has served in the Indian Army. And I think that this is our pride and joy. The fact that at 93, he comes out and gives his vote. It is an inspiration, especially for those who are sitting at home. I request people to come out and vote. If at 93, he can vote, who is stopping you?" the MP from Uttar Pradesh's Amethi said.
Union Minister Smriti Irani after casting her vote: Today's hero is Khanna ji (man standing next to her),he had served in Army. He is 93 & came out to vote. It is an inspiration,request people to come out and vote,if at 93 he can vote,who is stopping you?#MaharashtraAssemblyPollshttps://t.co/56MkPFUeukpic.twitter.com/Cy1x8Ioofu— ANI (@ANI) October 21, 2019
After the low turnout, political leaders and celebrities appealed to people to step out and take part in the voting, with similar messages flooding social media, and volunteers going door-to-door to bring out the voters in some areas.
The others who appealed people to vote were Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal, Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and his daughter Supriya Sule and Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawat.
Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, celebrities such as Aamir Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Anil Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi and Deepika Padukone were among other prominent Mumbai residents who went to the polling booth.
In Maharashtra, the BJP is seeking a second term in power and hopes for an easy victory. The ruling party is contesting 150 seats while its ally Shiv Sena has fielded 124 candidates. The remaining seats have been left for smaller allies. The Congress is contesting the polls in alliance with the NCP.
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