Parties in damage-control mode
The Congress faces the worst rebellion, while the BJP is left embarrassed as senior leaders fight for tickets, file their own nominees.mumbai Updated: Feb 01, 2012 00:39 IST
From pep talks to threats to delaying the selection of candidates, political parties did everything they could to douse rebellion before the cut-off time for filing nominations for the civic polls ended at 5pm on Tuesday.
The most embarrassing scene was witnessed in the BJP, as state president Sudhir Munguntiwar indirectly threatened its Mumbai unit president Raj Purohit after his daughter-in-law Hema filed papers in ward 219, opposite party nominee Bharati Jain. “Party discipline is supreme and workers need to abide by the party decision. Those who do not will be dealt with sternly,” he said.
Sources said the party has told Purohit to ensure her candidature is withdrawn on Wednesday.
Two senior leaders, Parag Alavani and Arvind Bane, decided to field their wives against the party’s nominees.
Two-time corporator Vishwanath Mhaske floated the Mulund Vikas Manch and put up four candidates against the party’s nominees.
The Congress faced the maximum trouble. Faced with large-scale rebellion, it put on hold the selection of candidates from 25 wards. It is contesting 169 seats and is likely to have disgruntled party workers contesting in almost every ward.
“The party will suspend rebels if they don’t follow directives,” said a senior leader.
At Congress offices, angry groups shouted anti-leader slogans. Mumbai unit general secretary Ajit Sawant alleged that senior leaders had sold the poll tickets.
The parties used various tactics to keep their rebels confused. The Shiv Sena did not release its list till the deadline was over. In wards where it is expecting trouble, the Congress asked multiple aspirants to file papers. It will decide its candidates by February 3, the day candidates need to submit an official letter from the party.
The Sena managed to avert one major rebellion when it convinced corporator Mangesh Satamkar to not file papers against Mayor Shraddha Jadhav. A leader said Satamkar backed out after a call from Uddhav Thackeray. He has reportedly been promised a seat in the legislative council.
However, it could not stop senior leader Raja Chaugule from filing papers as an independent after he was asked to make way for first-timer Komal Nagarkar. The NCP did not face trouble. Its leaders such as Nawab Malik, Sachin Ahir, Milind Kamble and Chhagan Bhujbal were asked to select candidates in their areas. “There were some disagreements, but so far we have not faced rebellion,” said city party chief Narendra Verma.