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Gujarat polls: Meet Mahendra Mashru, Junagadh's friendly neighborhood MLA

Whether it's election time or not, Junagadh MLA Mahendra Mashru can be seen pacing through the picturesque city, smiling at people. 
Despite his age - Mashru is 72 - he walks fast, making it difficult for his supporters to keep up with him. 
"This is the way to be with people, not by standing on cars and waving at people during roadshows," he told Catch when we caught up with him during his door-to-door campaign. 
The BJP MLA's supporters say door-to-door is the only kind of campaigning he does. 
"He is a sachha sewak, a true servant of the people," says Adhyashaktiben Majmudar, the mayor of Junagadh, who has joined Mashru in his campaign. 
Locals say that Mashru is extremely accessible and is often found in hospitals and offices helping people. 
"Even if he is campaigning and gets a call that someone needs help, he will immediately rush to the spot," said Rajeshbhai, a shopkeeper. 
"Even though we have been hit by GST, we will vote for BJP for the sake of  Mashru," Rajesh adds.
This personal connect with the people has helped Mashru remain undefeated from the seat since 1990. Having won as an Independent in his first two elections, Mashru's popularity is irrespective of the party's fortunes. 
It is for this reason that most locals feel Mashru will win despite there being some resentment against the BJP due to demonetisation, GST, water supply and handling of the Patidar agitation. 
A man of simple means by most accounts, Mashru's income has fallen over the years. From Rs 5.10 lakh in 2004-05 it has come down to Rs 20,067 last year, according to reports. (Hyperlink https://m.timesofindia.com/city/ahmedabad/mahendra-mashru-earned-only-rs-20067-last-year/articleshow/61745735.cms
However Mashru got embroiled in a major scandal in 2011 after 32 thalassemia affected children in Junagadh civil hospital contracted HIV allegedly because of a blood transfusion from a blood bank run by him. He was given a clean chit earlier this year.