Assembly polls: Parties back newbie corporators; seniors fume

Veterans who have been corporators for 15 years sidelined by political parties, youngsters who know locals at a grassroot level get preference

Call it a case of sour grapes. The decision of leading political parties to give tickets to first-time corporators to contest for the upcoming state assembly elections has not gone down well with senior politicians. Out of the two dozen-odd corporators who got tickets for this year’s elections, eight of them are first-timers. Veteran politicos feel that it’s not right to give ‘newbies’ an opportunity to control the functioning of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has decided to field three first-time corporators from western suburbs whereas Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chose three and Sena chose two new corporators respectively. An MNS leader said, on condition of anonymity, “We felt it was important for us to give the younger lot preference.” A senior BJP leader, said on condition of anonymity, “Seniors who have worked consistently and have been corporators for over 15 years have not been given a chance. This is grossly unfair.”

Parties have preferred to choose candidates who were quite popular in their respective areas. For instance, Shiv Sena corporator Yugandhara Salekar was given a ticket from Mumbadevi area after veteran leaders from the party learnt that she was popular among locals. She was known for commuting on her two-wheeler and interacting with locals on a regular basis. Likewise, the BJP gave a ticket to Ameet Satam from Andheri West as he had gone on a hunger strike for almost a week in March this year and demanded that non-functional streetlights should be replaced for the safety of citizens.

Salekar said, “I have tried to contact people at the grassroot level. My party trusted me and gave me a ticket.” Satam said, “I got ample support from locals and Advanced Locality Managements (ALMs).”

Meet your newbie corporator

Name: Arvind Dudhwadkar (54)
Political Party: Shiv Sena
Constituency: Malabar Hill
Assets declared: About R41 lakh
Education: SSC

(Left) Name: Yugandhara Salekar (47)
Political Party: Shiv Sena
Constituency: Mumbadevi
Assets declared: About R13 lakh
Education: SSC

Name: Balchandra Ambure (43)
Political Party: MNS
Constituency: Jogeshwari east
Assets declared: About R21 lakh
Education: SSC pass

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