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By George! Congress has a problem

Sources say Catholics are unhappy that former corporator George Abraham did not get a BMC ticket, despite being backed by local leaders

All the dilly-dallying by parties in revealing their list of chosen ones for the BMC polls has seemingly failed to shield them from criticism of dissatisfied factions. In the case of the Congress, a wave of displeasure over distribution of tickets continued for the third day with party MPs, MLAs and local units coming out with some strong reactions. 

For instance, the party's decision to nominate Tajinder Tiwana, son of sitting corporator Jaya Tiwana from ward no 31 in Malad has seemingly embittered local Catholics who have questioned the efficacy of supporting Congress in the upcoming polls. 

According to sources, after intense lobbying that involved who's who from the party, the Congress committee appointed to finalise contestants for BMC nodded in favour of Tiwana, ignoring former corporator George Abraham, who was backed by local MP Sanjay Nirupam, local MLA Aslam Shaikh and North Mumbai district Congress chief Ashok Sutrale. 

As soon as the final list was announced late on Wednesday evening, members from the Catholic community reportedly contacted both Nirupam and Shaikh, seeking clarification. Sources say, Nirupam was upset over the denial of tickets to his supporters and reacted very strongly. Shaikh also tried to pacify members of the community but his efforts went in vain. 

Yesterday, a hush-hush meeting of the Bombay Catholic Sabha was called, in which the subject invited heated debate. Gordon D'Souza, president of the Sabha told MiD DAY the community was disappointed as it has over 17,000 voters in the particular ward that has 48,000 voters. "The party ticket should have been given to Abraham as reciprocation of the support given by the community to Congress," he said. 

Goa ahead
When asked whether the community was planning to boycott the Congress across the city, D'Souza said, "There's no such plan as of now." But locals from the area said that Catholics from elsewhere and from Goa particularly were apprised of the Congress stand. This might have an impact on the state assembly elections in Goa, said a local resident from the community. 

Nirupam appeared dismayed, saying despite making a strong presentation before the committee Abraham was denied a ticket. When asked whether an influential leader from Delhi had swayed the decision, as reported, Nirupam rejected this. MLA Aslam Shaikh accepted that there was strong displeasure over the party's decision among Catholics. 

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