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BJP-Sena turn foes

The elections to the Graduate and Teacher’s constituency, to be held on Monday, have taken an interesting turn. The BJP and Shiv Sena, allies, have turned competitors after the latter decided to support suspended BJP candidate Manisha Kayande for the Teacher’s constituency.

Kayande was the vice president of BJP Mumbai when she was suspended for revolting against the BJP-supported candidate, Sharad Yadav, last month.

Being a senior party leader and teacher, the 49 year-old was miffed when the ticket she expected was not given. However, the Sena went ahead, supported her candidature and even publicly announced her as their candidate. In the Graduate constituency, the Sena is fielding sitting Member of Legislative Council, Dr Deepak Sawant, against first-timer Surendra Srivastava, who has created an impact by going to Bombay High Court in May, asking for a fresh voters list to be issued for the Graduate constituency elections. He stipulated that despite Mumbai having over three million graduates, only about 60,000 were registered voters. After the list was reissued, 34,000 more voters were added.

The Teacher’s constituency has 23,000 voters whereas the Graduate constituency has more than 93,000 voters. The Teacher’s constituency has three main contenders while the Graduate constituency has two people from political parties and the rest are independent.

 List of people in the race

 Teacher’s constituency: 23,000 voters
> Sharad Yadav (51), is a school teacher in Ghatkopar and a candidate of Maharashtra Rajya Sikshak Parishad, supported by the BJP. He claims he has the support of all the teachers and will win the elections. He doesn’t consider Kayande an opponent because of his union’s strength. His union’s Sanjeevani Raikar had earlier represented the Teacher’s constituency for 18 years

> Manisha Kayande (49), is a former BJP Mumbai vice president and professor with a doctorate degree who teaches at a college in Parel. She is sure she will win the elections because the present MLC from the constituency hasn’t done anything for the teachers. She says the present MLC Kapil Patil isn’t even a teacher and has used the funds allotted to him to lay paver blocks on the roads

> Kapil Patil (50), belongs to the Lok Bharti Party, the same party that had given a ticket to ex-cricketer Vinod Kambli during the assembly polls in 2009. He’s the present MLC from the constituency. A former journalist, Patil had won the last election from this constituency in spite of not being a teacher and thus not being a voter for the constituency. He’s hoping the same this time too

Graduate constituency: 93,536 voters
> Shiv Sena’s Dr Deepak Sawant (55) will hit a hat-trick if he wins these elections. He has already represented the graduate constituency in the Maharahstra Council once and has been elected via the Assembly to the council. He boasts that no political party fielded any candidate against him and says this is so because everyone knows that he’s going to win the elections

> Surendra Srivastava, (52) of the Lok Satta Party is fighting the election for the first time. Srivastava plans to change Mumbai by using his position as a member of the graduate constituency. “I want the government to become aware of the people’s problems. As an MLC, I can use my position to throw light on the common man’s troubles — from transport to bad roads.” 

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