Mumbai is living up to its image of a progressive city by making issues like environment and LGBT rights a part of the election campaign. This weekend saw several events where citizens participated and sent a strong message to the leaders running political campaigns.
This weekend, as part of the Global Earth Day theme, Earth Day Network in collaboration with Pinkathon and other like-minded NGOs conducted a walkathon and plogging (jogging and picking up litter) session where people ran by the beach and cleaned up waste.
After cleaning up the beach, when asked if election candidates were talking enough about the environment in their campaigns, one of the volunteers said, "I do not think so. We as part of Pinkathon have gathered here to do more about cleanliness and do our bit."
Another volunteer added, "They've had great support from the BMC and the local corporator and we would like to see this being replicated nationally."
On Sunday, the Congress candidate from Mumbai North Central constituency Priya Dutt met with members of the LGBT community to discuss the mainstreaming of their issues. Along with LGBT activist Harrish Iyer, who has now joined the Congress, Ms Dutt spent over an hour explaining the party's stand on LGBT community's issues.
Harrish Iyer told NDTV, "Congress has mentioned our issues in their manifesto and I blame Priya Dutt for drawing me towards the party."
"I think it's important and we talk about inclusive growth and inclusion it is very important to look at every community and not leave anyone out. But theirs is an issue that's always hush hush and it needs to come out openly and find acceptance now," Priya Dutt added.
Voters in Mumbai say they are happy that progressive issues are becoming issues at least in the city and they describe it as a welcome departure from the issues that have been dominating headlines this election.