Less than 24 hours before the cut-off date to file nominations for the Mumbai civic polls, political parties were struggling to contain rebellion in their ranks.
The threat of revolt looms so large that the Shiv Sena, one of the two main contenders for power in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, had not released its candidate list at the time of going to press on Monday. The other big contestant, the Congress, released only a part of its list late on Monday.
Party sources said the Sena may not even release a list, instead asking its selected contestants to file their nominations discreetly. All nominations have to be filed by 5pm on Tuesday.
Keeping the lists under wraps has, however, not stalled the rebellion. Objections were raised against the selection of Sena heavyweights, ex-mayor Milind Vaidya, and standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale, both of who have filed nominations.
Tension prevailed in the Congress as the party warily released a list of 119 candidates, fielding 17 sitting corporators and seven politicians who have come from other parties. “We expect trouble from those who don’t get tickets,” said a leader, explaining the delay in the release of the list of candidates. Earlier in the day, workers protested inside state Congress president Manikarao Thakre’s office.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the BJP, which released lists last week, too witnessed trouble. On Monday morning, several MNS workers who didn’t get tickets protested outside Raj Thackeray’s Shivaji Park home. He spent eight hours placating protesters and had to rope in his wife to pacify the women. “The list is final,” he said.
Thackeray later said: “They are like family members and were upset. But they will not rebel.”
The BJP is in a fix as its corporator, Vishwanath Mhaske, and a group of dissidents have set up a separate outfit in Mulund to contest in four wards, which will upset its chances. The NCP, which released its list on Sunday, has not faced trouble so far.