Underworld don Arun Gawli's party will contest 26 seats | india | Hindustan Times
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Underworld don Arun Gawli's party will contest 26 seats

india Updated: Jan 13, 2012 02:22 IST
HT Correspondent

Joining the race of parties competing in the upcoming civic polls is gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli's Akhil Bhartiya Sena (ABS), which is set to contest 26 seats.

Two of the party's sitting corporators, Vandana and Geeta Gawli, Arun's sister-in-law and daughter respectively, will contest this year as well.

Arun, currently lodged in Arthur Road Jail, will not be able to participate in the campaigning and Geeta said that her father's absence could disadvantage the party.

"Our star campaigner is not around and there is pressure on us. However, based on our performance in the last five years, we are confident of winning again," said Geeta.

Despite being unable to directly assist in the poll preparations, Arun is reportedly playing a key role short-listing the candidates and aides claim that he will take the final call.

"Potential candidates meet him during his frequent court visits and lobby for a ticket. If he approves of a particular candidate, he will tell us," said a close aide.

However, sources said that Arun's family would try to seek his bail yet again, so that he can campaign for ABS.

In the 2007 civic polls, the ABS contested 39 seats, winning in two wards and coming second in another. However, they supported the Shiv Sena-BJP combine and were accommodated in prestigious civic committees, such as the standing and improvement committee.

Rival parties claim that they do not view the party as much of a threat, as it has failed to make a mark. "The ABS corporators have not been in touch with the public and were inaccessible," said Congress leader Faiyyaz Ahmed. "I do not think they would win," he added.

Gawli had formed the ABS in 1997 as a counterfoil to the Shiv Sena, which was ruling the state at the time.