In a rare instance, sitting corporators have shifted their loyalties to rival parties in droves either because they were denied tickets or to give an impetus to their sagging political careers.
Surprisingly, candidates had no compunction in admitting that they switched sides only for tickets. This shows ideological differences have taken a backseat in the February 21 polls to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
All major political parties are facing rebellion over distribution of tickets. Sitting corporators whose candidature bid was turned down by their own parties received tickets from the rival camps.
For instance, senior corporator Devendra Amberkar, the outgoing leader of opposition, openly admitted that he has joined the BJP after he was not allowed to represent his own ward.
The former Congress leader criticised city unit president Sanjay Nirupam and North West district president Baldev Khosa for their ‘autocratic behaviour’.
“They were forcing me to contest from another ward. There were attempts to demoralise Marathi-speaking people in the party, which forced me to switch sides,” said Amberkar.
Corporator Dinesh Panchal left the Shiv Sena as it denied his wife a ticket. Sources said Sena’s Member of Parliament Rahul Shewale wanted the ticket from the same ward for his wife, Kamini.
“The party was doing injustice with sitting corporators. Even party chief Uddhav Thackeray was misguided on the issue. As a result, I had no option but to leave the Sena,” said Panchal.
However, the migration to the other side is not limited to denial of tickets.
Corporator Chetan Kadam, formerly with the MNS, jumped to the Sena bandwagon as he was worried about his future.
“I got demoralised when senior MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar made a statement to the media that the party was never in such a bad position. The remarks made me start thinking about my future and thus I decided to join the Sena which welcomed me with an open heart,” said Kadam.
Both the Sena and BJP have poached the highest number of corporators. BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said whosoever decides to join the party has to adopt its ideology.