A wedding postponed, trips rescheduled as Mumbai gears up for elections on April 29

Tabassum Barnagarwala
The family had booked tickets for more than 200 members from the community to travel to Raichur by train.

With polling in the city slated over the long weekend, many residents have changed holiday plans to ensure that they go out and cast their vote on April 29.

Not only that, a couple has even rescheduled their wedding so that they can cast their vote. Priyanka Eddula, 23, was slated to marry Ravi Savanna, a farmer, in a village near Raichur in Karnataka on April 28 followed by a reception on April 29. Now, the couple has moved their wedding date to May 7.

"We fixed the dates and the venue six months ago. When the election dates were announced, I was the first one to realise that it coincides with the wedding," said Anusuiya Ramkrishna Koli, the bride's aunt, adding, "we have never missed voting in any Lok Sabha election."

The family had booked tickets for more than 200 members from the community to travel to Raichur by train. Many relatives approached Eddula's mother, who lives in Juhu, to tell her that they will miss the elections this time. Her father, a grocer, died three months ago.

Local corporator Meher Mohsin Haider met the family during a campaign rally and urged them to use their franchise. According to Eddula's grandfather Narsappa Singhi, he panicked when the family mulled changing the dates.

"We had to get her married this year; after two dates in the coming days, there was no mahurat for a long time" he said. The groom is Eddula's first cousin, so both the families put their heads together and decided to change the wedding dates after ensuring that the venue was available in May without a massive financial loss. On April 23, parts of Karnataka go to polls, including Raichur. The family, spread over Juhu, Andheri, and Ambernath, will travel from Mumbai for an engagement ceremony on April 26 and return by April 28. They will return to Raichur for the wedding on May 7. "We incurred some losses in rescheduling the train tickets," Singhi said.

The Juhu Koli community, where the family resides, has demanded a community hall from political parties campaigning in the area to hold social gatherings. The fisherfolk in Mumbai have been protesting against the coastal road project that will directly affect fishing activities in Colaba, Worli, and Juhu.

While the Singhis postponed the wedding, many residents have rescheduled holiday plans. Car dealer Furkan Shaikh has delayed a tour to Mahabaleshwar with his family, bearing 25 per cent of the cancellation charges of the vacation package by postponing the trip to May 2.

"This is a difficult time for India. In the last five years, we have only seen violence in the name of religion. I have to ensure a secure future for my children. It is important to vote for the right representative," the Versova resident said.

In Vaishali Nagar, Intekhab Qureshi had planned a trip to Jaipur, his native city, with a family of six. "I was thinking of not voting at all. But this time, the elections are crucial. In the last five years, as a builder, I have come across issues in the construction business," he said. He had earlier planned to leave the city on April 26. "Now we will fly on the evening of April 29," he added.

Geet Sahib, a Lokhandwala resident, said political activists visited their residential society to sensitise citizens on the importance of voting.

"Our entire society has decided to go and vote this election. I had plans of a family get-together in Udaipur. Family members are visiting from different parts of India, but I have postponed my trip by two days," she said.