BMC polls: Mumbai’s ward no. 1 sees a three-way battle between Sena, Congress and BJP
In the city’s first electoral ward, which is reserved for women, the Mumbai civic election battle for the corporator’s seat is between a Congress corporator and a Shiv Sena corporator’s wife while the candidate from the BJP waits in the fringe.mumbai Updated: Feb 20, 2017 11:18 IST
In the city’s first electoral ward, which is reserved for women, the Mumbai civic election battle for the corporator’s seat is between a Congress corporator and a Shiv Sena corporator’s wife while the candidate from the BJP waits in the fringe.
From the Shiv Sena, sitting corporator Abhishek Ghosalkar’s wife Tejasvi is contesting in the Kandarpada ward of Borivli (West). The Congress corporator of ward no. 3, Sheetal Mhatre, has returned to ward no. 1, which got her a seat in 2007, while the BJP chose a fresh face and fielded an advocate.
The candidates are all looking at the north Indian community staying in Ganpat Patil Nagar slums, which forms a major chunk of the ward’s vote bank . Of the 24, 793 votes, which will be divided between 11 women at Kandarpada,it is a close fight between the Sena and Congress, according to observers.
Even as the candidates enter the slum with their promises, the ward is a symbol of disparity between the slum population and the residential societies. The roads in the societies are asphalted, but the roads outside the slums are made of paver blocks.
“No more fear. You will not be removed,” former MLA Vinod Ghosalkar promises to the local residents of Ganpat Patil Nagar, while he was campaigning with his daughter in-law.
Speaking about the Coastal Regulation zone-1 (CRZ-1), the former MLA said, “The rules of the CRZ were relaxed to build the Metro and Shiv smarak. These people are living here and they should not be threatened with eviction and denied facilities.”
The BMC’s development plan has listed the Ganpat Patil Nagar slums in the CRZ-1 as a residential zone.
Tejasvi points to the water tanks in the area as she walks through the slums. “These were provided by the Sena and I will continue the work. The people here have been loyal to our party and this year too, it will be the same,” she said.
Ghosalkar speaks at length about the toilets built in the past five years. “We got ration cards and Aadhar cards for them so they are not denied basic facilities such as water connection and power,” the former MLA said, during the campaigning of his daughter-in-law.
Residents are, however, unhappy. Some said a few candidates threatened them with eviction unless they voted for them.
Giving a fight to the Sena candidate is Congress candidate Mhatre. The two-time corporator previously won from Kandarpada in 2007. In her campaign, Mhatre claimed the water connection was provided by her.
“Water is not regular in the area and we have to fetch water from a well. There is a toilet, but children seldom use it owing to the risk of crossing the road and because it is far,” said Ranjeet Mandal, a daily wage labourer and local resident.
Taking a jibe at her opponent, Mhatre said, “They (Sena) did not start a single project. The work, which is done here is during my time as a corporator. My work is my identity, which is not the same thing for others.”
Being a fresh candidate, Suchi Yadav from the BJP is mainly sticking to door-to-door campaigning to get acquainted with the voters. Her supporters are, however, confident that she will connect with the voters given her qualification as an advocate.
Local resident Sunita Mishra said, “They keep calling us illegal and ignore us. But during the elections they ask for votes. The area is not cleaned properly and breeds dengue mosquitoes.”
In the evening as the candidates leave, all that remains in the slum lanes are shreds of their pamphlets torn by the residents.