They were colleagues or even friends sitting in the same council hall and taking part in discussions related to the city, but the upcoming Mumbai civic polls have senior leaders across all political parties locked in a bitter fight for the few ‘open’ wards where there is no reservation for women or for the other reserved categories.
There are at least 10 such wards across the city where politicians are fighting within their own party or with alliance partners for seats. “Until the final list is announced, there will be anxiety. Once it is out, there is likely to be several defections as not everybody can be kept happy,” said a senior corporator, requesting anonymity.
At Antop Hill (ward no. 169), the Shiv Sena is in a dilemma about whom to field as party functionary Shridar Jadhav, also husband of Mayor Shraddha Jadhav, and corporator Mangesh Satamkar are eyeing the seat.
In the other camp, the NCP’s Niaz Ahmed Vanu wants to contest from the same ward as his ward (no. 170) has been reserved for women. Two Congress corporators – Upendra Doshi and Ravi Raja – also want Antop Hill as their wards too have been reserved.
Sena leader and the law committee chairman Raja Chougule’s ward no. 149 in Chheda Nagar has been reserved for women, so he has staked his claim on ward no. 122 in Bhatwadi, Ghatkopar. However, the local Sena corporator, Shubhangi Shirke, has asked for it.
The BJP’s Vidya Thakur, whose ward has been reserved for OBC women, has asked for a seat in ward no. 46, which belongs to the Sena’s Shantu Bhosale.
Recently, Pravin Chheda, the BJP corporator from Ghatkopar, joined the Congress as his ward was reserved for women and the BJP was unwilling to field him from the neighbouring ward no. 124, which had been promised to Bhalchandra Shirsat.
On Monday, BJP workers vandalised their own party office in Chembur after the ward was given to a Sena candidate.