Saturday saw the city’s first citizen-backed corporator Adolf D’souza forming his own political outfit called Mumbai Nagriksatta, which would screen, select and back what it calls ‘citizens consensus candidates’.
However, with the increase in these outfits, a fear in the division of votes is now leading to talks of informal seat-sharing between all these outfits.
Insiders in some of these outfits agreed that they were considering informal agreements between outfits, to ensure that there are no multiple sided divisions of votes.
In addition to Mumbai Nagriksatta, there are at least two other similar non-mainstream players in the fray in the upcoming civic elections — Mumbai227, a joint forum of activists and professionals that would also select and back independent candidates in wards, as well as Lok Satta, which declares itself to be a citizens political party. Along with these, there is a fourth addition of activists, who want to contest as independent candidates, without the backing of any of these wards.
Bhaskar Prabhu, famed Right to Information (RTI) activist and founder of Mahiti Adhikar Manch (MAM) has already announced his candidature as an independent candidate from ward 195 in Dadar (East). HT has learnt that a sizeable number of such activists, especially from the western suburbs, are considering taking a similar plunge into electoral politics.
Said Prabhu, “A few of my colleagues are also considering standing for elections as independent candidates. The reason why I don’t want to be a part of any one of these outfits is because it restricts my support base. I’d rather be on good terms, across outfit lines.” Prabhu, however, added that he would speak to different outfits. “I will try and request them to not put up candidates in this ward to ensure there is no division of votes.”
An insider at Lok Satta said, “We have been receiving calls from these outfits, especially Mumbai227, about such potential tie-ups over seats. We are not averse to it, but frankly, we haven’t taken any conscious decision over this.”
Santosh Awatramani, from Mumbai227 said, “It is too premature to discuss these details. If at all, we might have a situation where we agree to not put up candidates in 2-3 wards. Also, such sharing will have to fit into the larger framework of Mumbai227, in case it happens.”
However, Raajesh Senha, from Mumbai Nagriksatta ruled out the possibility of such tie-ups. “If we have such seat sharing tie-ups with a Lok Satta or any other party, how are we different from a Congress or a Shiv Sena?”