The Congress on Monday released its first list of 115 candidates for the 227-seat BMC polls on February 21. Majority of candidates are Maharashtrians, followed by north Indians and Gujaratis. Significantly, in the first list, the number of Gujarati and Muslim candidates is almost the same as the party is trying to win over the trading community, which is not very happy with demonetisation.
The list has 19 incumbent, 13 former corporators, and also the kin of a few sitting corporators. There are 64 Marathi, 19 north Indians, 12 Muslims, 11 Gujarati and Jain candidates. Pravin Chheda, Sheetal Mhatre, Parul Mehta, Sangeeta Handore are some of the incumbent party corporators who were declared candidates.
The party is also trying to get back in the good books of the north Indian community, the second largest group in Mumbai after Maharashtrians. Once Congress voters, north Indians aligned to the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. According to party leaders, the Congress is expected to field more north Indian candidates than what they did in 2012. In the north Mumbai constituency, nine of 24 declared candidates are north Indians. The community expects at least 40 wards be given to the north Indian claimants.
The party released its list of the candidates, which were cleared by the screening committee at the district level. The wards where the district leadership could not arrive to a consensus due to the infighting of the leaders, names have been withheld.
The BJP is also expected to finalise its list of candidates by Tuesday night. The party’s leadership finalised a list of candidates for five constituencies and was holding talks with its allies including Republican Party of India (A), Shiv Sangram, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, before finalising candidates for the sixth constituency.
From the three BJP-held constituencies, the party has zeroed in on 120 candidates. The screening committee of had shortlisted 527 candidates for the 227-member house. All candidates have been screened by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.