The Akhil Bharatiya Sena (ABS), a party headed by gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli, may contest the general elections under the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) banner.
Or it may not.
Gawli’s party workers have hinted that they may not be too eager to merge the Akhil Bharatiya Sena with the party headed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati.
The development means there now hangs a cloud over their leader’s nomination by the BSP for a city Lok Sabha seat.
An ABS worker, who requested anonymity because of lack of authorisation to talk to the media, said a merger meant loss of the party’s separate identity.
“After merging the party, ABS activists will have to work under BSP leaders and they don’t want it,” the worker said.
Another party worker, one considered close to Gawli and who, too, did not wish to be name, said ABS was it was good that the BSP had offered their leader a chance to contest the election under its banner.
“We just fear if something goes wrong in our relationship with the BSP in the future, we will have to start again from scratch since whatever we have created as a political party today will by then have been overwhelmed by the jumbo identity of the BSP,” the worker said.
Gawli’s daughter Geeta, an ABS corporator from Byculla, did not deny there was opposition to the merger.
“We have not declared anything yet. I will speak on the issue only after Holi,” she said. “I will also have a talk with Daddy (Gawli).”
BSP state unit president Vilas Garud had earlier announced Gawli would be contesting from Mumbai South Central Lok Sabha seat on a BSP ticket.
Now he added that the ABS chief had already given a letter of consent for the merger to take place.
“I don’t know about Geeta, but her party leader wrote to us about the merger of his party with the BSP,” Garud said. “If they do an about-turn, we will not allow his candidature under the BSP banner.”
Eknath Gaekwad of the Congress today represents South Central.
Gawli, a member of the assembly from Chinchpokli, is on Sunday in judicial custody in connection with an extortion case.