On the last date of filing nominations for the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its list of 195 candidates for the 227-member house. It has left 32 seats for its allies including the Republican Party of India (Athavale) faction and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha.
The party has fielded maximum Marathi faces with 93 candidates followed by 29 Gujarathi candidates and 25 North Indians. Both North Indians and Gujaratis make up for less than one-third of the total candidates in fray. The party has fielded 117 women candidates, clearly giving them precedence over and above the mandatory 50% reservation.
The list of the candidates was released in the early hours of Friday after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave his final approval to it.
Despite slamming the Opposition over dynasty politics, BJP’s list includes sons, wives and kin of many of its established leaders. The next generation candidates who got tickets include Member of Parliament (MP) Kirit Somaiya’s son Neel, legislator Raj Purohit’s son Akash, minister Vidya Thakur’s son Dipak Thakur, city unit chief Ashish Shelar’s brother Vinod Shelar among others.
At least 20 of the candidates fielded by the party include outsiders, who were recently poached by the party specifically for the BMC polls. These include former corporators like Makrand Narvekar (independent), Congress corporators Sagar Singh, Kesharben Patel, Sena corporators Leena Shukla, Bablu Panchal, Nana Ambole, MNS legislator Mangesh Sangale among others. Both Ambole and Panchal, who were inducted last minute on Thursday, as well as their wives, got tickets from the BJP.
This is the first time that BJP is fielding these many candidates. For the last 15 years the party has fielded not more than 65 contestants.