One of Nagpur's most notorious goons, Shamsher, claims he's a changed man. Shamsher, who was externed four times from the city and faces charges, ranging from murders, extortion, rape and etc, has openly expressed his political aspirations and wants to contest the forthcoming Nagpur Municipal Corporation elections.
Shamsher, who has earned the sobriquet of being the 'Dawood of Nagpur', has sought a Congress ticket for the purpose.
On Sunday night, he went to Devadia Congress Bhavan, the headquarters of Nagpur City and District Congress Committee and sought the party's candidature from Hasanbagh, a pre-dominantly Muslim constituency in east Nagpur locality. While seeking the ticket, the 'self-proclaimed' reformed man said there is still some scope for him to change his overall lifestyle.
Like all candidates being screened and interviewed before being granted the party ticket, Shamsher too appeared before a selection panel comprising AICC general secretary and Lok Sabha member from Nagpur Vilas Muttemwar, Nagpur district guardian minister Shivajirao Moghe, Maharashtra minister for employment Nitin Raut and former Maharashtra minister Satish Chaturvedi.
"Sir, I have been a Congress loyalist for long. I helped Congress nominees for the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. I contested the 2002 elections as an independent from Hasanbagh, but lost to Majid Shola (who was then in BJP and now in Congress) by just 66 votes," he told the panel.
"I am confident to win with a huge margin if given the party ticket," he claimed.
The alleged criminal admitted to his notorious background and claimed that he had reformed and was ready to reform further. "It is my earnest wish to contest elections and now I have a good chance," he said and claimed to have the full support of the people of the area.
The panel listened to him with rapt attention. It was said that a former minister and one of the selection committee members was lobbying for him.
Earlier, another alleged criminal, Anil Dhawde sought nomination from the ruling BJP in the civic elections from Nagpur. It is said that the BJP almost decided on nominating him despite a strong opposition from within the party.
After listening to Shamsher, Muttemwar reportedly told him that unlike MPs and MLAs, the corporators have direct contact with people. A corporator has to work at the grassroots level. These factors would be taken into consideration at the time of allotting party tickets.
Talking to Hindustan Times, one of the members of the Congress selection committee, who preferred to anonymity, said that Shamsher should not be given a party ticket. "It will send a wrong message before the public if we give ticket to Shamsher. But maximum members are interested about his nomination," he rued.
According to him, the party bigwigs even provided him an application form for seeking nomination.