These civic polls, you might just see some brand new faces contesting on behalf of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
At least 40 per cent of the candidates the party will field for the forthcoming civic polls are likely to be first-timers. "We want to put forth new faces," Vinod Tawde of BJP said. "Giving other party workers a chance to contest will help us strengthen the party further."
Apart from candidates who are assured winners, the party is willing to experiment with new names. The delimitation of constituencies — which has changed equations in many wards — could also give newcomers a chance to test the electoral waters.
"It is a welcome idea to bring in new people," said Ashish Shelar, BJP corporator from Bandra. Shelar, who was elected councilor in the last civic polls, believes young blood can give the party new direction. "The youth can have a vast vision and can bring in a new approach towards solving the city's problems." However, Shelar is confident the party will do its best to maintain equilibrium between the seasoned and the newer lot.
According to three-time councilor, Gopal Shetty, the party will need new people because it hopes to contest a larger number of seats than it presently holds. "We will try to see that the young generation gets a chance. The person who gets elected can work for the party and the people for a longer time."
These elections could, thus, see a number of newcomers slugging it out for control over the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Sources say, in cases where sitting candidates have lost their wards because they have now been reserved for women — due to delimitation — the candidates are pushing for tickets for their wives. "These male candidates will then rule as proxy corporators through their wives," a BJP insider said, on the condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, parties are busy surveying the electorate so that they can plan their poll strategy according to the results their surveys throw up. The BJP has completed nearly 65 per cent of their pre-poll research. "We should be able to declare our candidates in two to three weeks," the party's city unit president, Prakash Mehta, said.