After the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) decided not to contest the Assembly polls in the state, a few unhappy activists in the city are contesting the elections as independents.
Sumit Wajale, a close aide of social activist-turned-politician Medha Patkar, is campaigning in Mankhurd and Shivaji Nagar.
“I belong to this place and have done a lot work here with her [Patkar]. When AAP backed out of the battle in Maharashtra, I was disappointed and decided to contest as an independent,” said Wajale.
Another activist, Siddharth Sawane, had joined the AAP in February this year, but he is now contesting from Ghatkopar (East) Assembly constituency. “Elections happen once in five years and I decided not to miss the chance. I had believed in the AAP ideology,” he said.
Sawane is now depending on the work he has been doing in Ghatkopar since 1994 to garner votes.
Sehgal Singh, another active AAP activist from Sion Koliwada is also contesting the election. “I worked hard as an AAP activist and I found nearly 52,000 bogus voter cards in the LS elections. I thought I deserved to contest at least as an independent now,” said Singh.
Social activist Anna Hazare, too, has extended support to these independents.
Ishwar Thathwade and Vishwakarma Jayaram – independent candidates from Dharavi and Chandivli, who had supported AAP activist Medha Patkar — are also contesting. A group under the banner Mumbai Parivartan Manch has been formed, which mostly includes AAP activists.
AAP officials, however, said they will not support the candidates. “They are associated with AAP, but can’t mention the party during their campaigns,” said Sundar Balakrishnan, AAP.