They looked at them as rivals, who could eat into their share of the voter base. But as the civic polls draw nearer, many politicians who have been denied tickets from their parties, have turned to citizen forums instead, hoping to cash into the emerging movement.
Every forum supporting citizen candidates in the city was been flooded with calls from political workers, especially in the last two days before nominations. These calls were mainly from those who, realsing that they would not get a ticket from their party, were ready embrace the role of an independent, non-political citizen candidate.
All forums maintained that such candidates had been rejected outright. However, sources said that this claim was refutable.
Confirming the trend, Hansel D’souza of Mumbai Nagrik Manch said. “A couple of political activists tried to wriggle into out process. In fact, one citizen forum has even nominated some veteran political activists and given them tickets. Such practices are doing a great disservice to the citizen candidate movement.”
Raajesh Senha from citizen forum Mumbai Nagriksatta also confirmed receiving requests from party workers. “We got at least 10 calls from disgruntled party workers, who had either not got the ticket, or felt that they didn’t have a very high chance of getting one from their party. Hence, they were willing to switch over if we assured them a ticket,” he said.
Mumbai 227, another forum supporting citizen-backed candidates, refused to disclose the exact number of requests.
Santosh Awatramani, convenor of the group said: “ Political candidates, especially those who didn’t get tickets, suddenly felt the urge to be a part of our movement. Although this was opportunistic, the U-turn also endorses our stand that independent candidates are the change that is needed in electoral politics in the city.”