Within days of Sanjay Dutt announcing his desire to contest the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, citizens’ organisations came together to oppose any move that might help Dutt get his way.
On Sunday, representatives from six different organisations, including AGNI, Khar Residents Association, H-West Ward Citizens’ Trust and Guzderband Scheme Residents Trust, publicly declared their resentment against Dutt’s statement. The organisations represent more than 2.5 lakh citizens.
A signature campaign will also be undertaken to request the Congress high commands not to grant Dutt a party ticket.
"A person with criminal records cannot be part of the electoral system and certainly not a Member of Parliament. We oppose any move which will make him a people’s representative," said Anil Joseph, member of H-West Ward Citizens’ Trust.
Dutt’s sister, Priya — travelling out of the country — was not available for comment. Krishna Hegde, Mumbai Congress spokesperson and a close confidant of Priya, said: "It’s too early to talk about the elections and who will get the ticket.
India is a democratic country and people have a right to their opinions. Sanjay Dutt is from a prominent Congress family and if he feels like extending his service to the society, he should be allowed to."
A few days after Dutt told a news channel that he was interested in contesting elections, Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders Amar Singh and Abu Asim Azmi called on him and expressed readiness to grant him a party ticket.
"A signature campaign will be carried out in areas between Bandra and Santacruz and will be sent to the Congress high commands, requesting them not to grant Dutt a ticket from any constituency," said Anandini Thakoor, trustee, Khar Residents Association.