With high stakes in the upcoming Mumbai civic polls, political parties across the spectrum had to face rebellion from disgruntled party workers on Monday. Except Sena, other parties started releasing their lists late on Monday. The Congress released its first list of 119 candidates while the NCP and the MNS released their second lists.
The Congress list comprised relatives of party leaders, 17 existing corporators, and those who defected to the party. Unwilling to quell their disappointment of not getting tickets to contest the elections, the ward-level leadership of parties raised the banner of revolt against parent parties such as Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The main reason for unhappiness, according to political observers, is the 50% reservation for women. The reservation has managed to upset political equations. With both the alliances staking claim over the BMC, parties have decided to choose elective merit over everything else. Elective merit has translated to established political leaders, councillors’ kin getting tickets at the cost of ward-level leadership.
“It is preferable to give a ticket to a legislator’s relative or existing councillor’s wife because the leader will put his weight behind that nomination and get the candidate elected,” said Surendra Jondhale, a political analyst.
A case in point could be ward number 213 (Priya Darshini Garden, August Kranti Maidan). Currently, Yogita Singh Juikar of BJP is the corporator of the ward. In seat-sharing, the ward went to Sena that has chosen to field Yogita’s husband, Anil Singh, to ensure a win.
The NCP has given tickets to two relatives of its Nehru Nagar MLA Nawab Malik. His brother Kaptan Malik will contest from ward number 164 (Swadeshi Mills) while his sister Dr Saeeda Khan is fielded from ward number 161 (Teachers’ Colony). “We did not want to take risk as Malik took the responsibility of getting them elected,” said a party leader.
Both BJP and NCP lists had more than fair share of tickets being given to relatives and close aides of party leaders to net a win.