Earlier this year, they stood as one in support of a Shiv Sena woman corporator who had accused Dahisar sitting MLA Vinod Ghosalkar of harassment. Now, these three women will fight separately in a bid to unseat him.
On Saturday, former mayor Dr Shubha Raul filed her nomination as a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate. She was a Shiv Sena member till Friday night, but rebelled when the party denied her a ticket and opted to field Ghosalkar for another five-year term.
With seven women corporators in the constituency and 50% of the electorate comprising women, most parties have fielded women candidates in a bid to oust Ghosalkar, who is currently out on bail after being charged with assault.
“I had asked (party chief) Uddhavji for a ticket and conveyed that fielding a woman candidate would be apt, given what Ghosalkar did brought a bad image to the Shiv Sena,” said Dr Raul.
The Congress has fielded Sheetal Mhatre, while Manisha Chaudhari will contest from the Bharatiya Janata Party; both corporators of who had been vociferous in their opinions against Ghosalkar. “Ghosalkar couldn’t handle women from his own party. How can he be entrusted with the responsibility of making women in the constituency feel safe?” said Congress candidate Mhatre. “There are bound to be changes if a woman candidate fights, both in terms of women’s safety and empowerment.”
However, three different women candidates who want to counter Ghosalkar could also result in a split among voters, especially women, thereby leading to a consolidation of Ghosalkar’s voter base. “These women candidates will make no difference to me during the elections neither will the charges against me. The women candidates who stood as one are now fighting among themselves,” said Ghosalkar.
Though the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance has come to an end, BJP’s Chaudhariy categorically said she will not target an individual.
“My priority will be development of the constituency, to make travel easier, more floor space index for those who live in goathans and women empowerment,” said Chaudhari. “As women, we three did protest against Ghosalkar. It was a personal issue. I will not bring it up during my election campaigns.”