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Stepping up: Young corporators want a shot at Assembly polls

Young corporators who have earned their stars responding to complaints about overflowing drains and illegal hawkers are now stepping up and seeking tickets for the upcoming state election, reports Sayli Udas Mankikar.

mumbai Updated: Sep 17, 2009 01:05 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar

They’re in the right place at the right time, and they plan to use that to their advantage.

Young corporators who have earned their stars responding to complaints about overflowing drains and illegal hawkers are now stepping up and seeking tickets for the upcoming state election.

And, with their parties eager for new faces and fresh blood, many are getting just what they want.

At least seven Mumbai corporators — the lowest rung of the urban political machinery, they act as liaisons between the citizen and civic body — have been shortlisted as candidates for the Assembly polls.

This might be good news for the city. “People with experience in civic bodies or panchayats generally have a solid foundation in politics and decision-making,” said political commentator B. Venkatesh Kumar. “Also, they have already established that all-important connect with issues and voters.”

The BJP’s Ashish Shelar (36) has that connect. An advocate and two-time corporator, he will be contesting the polls from Bandra, a Congress bastion.

But he is optimistic about his chances. “My work in the area will speak for me,” he said.

The young corporator, who started off as a BJP youth wing member 14 years ago, is now leader of the BJP in the civic body.

Ravindra Waikar (50) started off even younger than Shelar, at 20, and was put in charge of painting the local Shiv Sena offices across the city. A corporator from Jogeshwari since 1992, he says he has changed the face of his constituency and “now wants to change all of Mumbai’s suburbs,” said Waikar.

The Congress’s Amin Patel (46), the second richest corporator in the BMC, is hoping to get the Mumbadevi seat in south Mumbai, after his 2007 victory in Kamathipura.

Sameer Desai (45) of Motilal Nagar is the probable Congress candidate from Goregaon, though NCP member and trade unionist Sharad Rao is also vying for the seat in the ongoing tussle between the alliance partners.

And Congress corporator Rajhans Singh, leader of the Opposition in the BMC, is vying for the Sion-Koliwada seat.

Shiv Sena leader in the civic House Sunil Prabhu (40) might bag a ticket from Dindoshi, a reward for helping the Sena win the 2007 municipal election.

The only MNS corporator who has decided to step up is Vikhroli’s Mangesh Sangle. The 34-year-old has been fighting the Marathi cause and may get a ticket from his region.