Looking to introduce fresh blood into the civic body, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday released its list of 32 candidates, with 20 first timers in it.
Only nine sitting corporators have been included in the first list, which also includes names of 13 women nominees.
The party said that ward reservations and limited open wards necessitated the move. “We had to address the changing electoral scenario due to reservations and the winning potential of candidates. That’s why there are so many young faces,” city BJP president Raj Purohit said.
However, the BJP, currently in power in the civic body along with the Shiv Sena, also needs to tackle the anti-incumbency factor that could potentially work against it. “It was necessary to field new faces and incorporate the freshness factor to nullify the anti-incumbency as the party has been in power for 15 years. Hence a majority of our candidates are first-timers,” said a BJP leader.
The sitting corporators who have been re-nominated include Pravin Shah, Mohan Mithbaonkar, Shailaja Girkar, Ram Barot, Dyanmurti Sharma, Manoj Kotak, Dilip Patel,Mahesh Parkar and Sitaram Tiwari.
Interestingly, even though the BJP had publicly declared that tickets would not be given to members’ personal assistants or relatives of sitting corporators, two former personal assistants of senior leaders have been included in the list of candidates: Amit Satam, Gopinath Munde’s former PA, and Deepak Dalvi, Kirit Somaiya’s former PA.
Defending the decision, Purohit said: Both of them were not given tickets because they were Pas. They have proved their mettle as diligent party workers and that is why they were selected.”
Also included in the list are close supports of Somaiya and senior BJP corporator Ashish Shelar. While Prakash Gangadhare, who has been nominated from Ward 102, is reportedly a confidante of Somaiya, Alka Kelkar, from ward 93 is a Shelar’s close associate.
The BJP also chose to drop sitting corporator Rukmini Kharatmol and nominated her husband and former corporator Vithal Kharatmol from Adarsh Nagar. The party will also field Javed Shaikh, from ward 44 the only minority face in the list.
“We will come out with the list of remaining candidates after a meeting on January 26,” Purohit said.
The BJP, which is allying with the Shiv Sena and the Ramdas Athavale-led Republic Party India in the upcoming civic polls, will be fielding candidates in 63 of the 227 constituencies.