It was an unusual sight at the three centres in the city where the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) conducted its entrance test for all willing candidates. Fathers and sons, husbands and wives were all seen competing each other by writing the exam in one classroom.
Aiming to set a trend in the upcoming civic polls, MNS Chief Raj Thackeray conducted written exams for all aspiring candidates, sitting corporators and other members of the party yesterday. The exam was a memorable experience for Sayali Kulkarni, a resident of Shaniwar Peth, who came from Ahmednagar from where she was studying. She said that her married sister Sarika Akhare Joshi was competing with her for the same ticket from the same panel.
"The idea of conducting an exam was in itself a very creative concept. This will help select genuine and knowledgeable candidates who will be sensible and sensitive about issues in their respective wards," said Sayali, who is a final year of medicine from Ahmednagar Medical College. Sarika however, is not worried about the results, she said, "The result is not very important for me, but the time I spent studying with my sister was a memorable one." Both the sisters, who are contesting from panel number 37, are preparing for their interview on December 7.
Kalpana Bahirat who contested for the MNS civic poll in 2007 had taken her husband Dilip Bahirat for the exam. Dilip had earlier contested the election from the Nationalist Congress Party. Kalpana said, "Earlier I had given the interview when I filed my nomination from MNS in 2007, I am pretty sure that this time also I can give my interview confidently." Kalpana and her husband Dilip used to study together for half an hour everyday, both of them are contesting form panel number 40.
Among them were father and son duo was Shivaji Thakar and Deepak Thakar. "We not only studied theory, but also took rounds of our ward in an attempt to understand the problems," said Deepak the son.
MNS youth leader Ajay Shinde, who was in the committee of conducting the exam, said that he had realised that it was easy to give an exam but difficult to conduct it. MNS sitting corporators, city chief and all the divisional heads e also appeared for the exam, he added. The answer sheets will be sent to Mumbai and checked by a panel of former teachers and professors from Maharashtra Shikshak Sena.