Sources said that Ashish Shelar does not wish to contest, as he is unsure of winning in Bandra without the Sena’s support
The BJP’s Mumbai chief, Ashish Shelar, seems to have developed cold feet over contesting the assembly elections. He was set to contest from Bandra West constituency, but it is learnt that he has decided not to contest. It is being said that Alka Kelkar, former deputy mayor, might contest from there.
Ashish Shelar was set to contest from Bandra West constituency. File pic
On Friday afternoon, the BJP was to announce the list of candidates, but Rajiv Pratap Rudy, BJP in-charge for the state, received a call from Shelar, informing him of the decision of not contesting the elections. However, sources said that Rudy told Shelar whatever the party decides, will have to be followed.
Rudy refused to answer any questions on Shelar. When asked about his decision, Shelar said, “Whatever the party decides will be obeyed, and our candidate will file the nomination at 11 am on Saturday.” He refused to say anything more on this issue.
Late at night on Friday, the BJP’s list was released with Shelar’s name as the candidate from Bandra. It is to be seen if he files his nomination. Sources from the party claimed that Shelar isn’t too sure of winning the elections, without Shiv Sena’s support in the constituency.
Senior Sena leader Anil Parab, who is a resident of Bandra, has a lot of clout amongst the middle-class Marathi people of the area. In the last elections, Shelar had lost the seat to Baba Siddiqui by a small margin of 1,500 votes, and had the Sena been there to support him this time, it was estimated that he would win. Without the Sena, votes will be distributed and this has worried Shelar.
His refusal has come as a surprise to many in the party. “We are surprised why Shelar has taken this stand, because if he fears that he won’t get the Sena votes, he should also note that the Congress and NCP have also gone their separate ways, which will lower even the Congress’s vote,” said a BJP leader. “I hear Alka Kelkar, former deputy mayor, will be given the ticket from BandraWest,” said another leader from the party.
Uddhav Thackeray v/s Amit Shah
On Saturday, while Sena chief Thackeray will hold his first rally and make his first public appearance at Mahalaxmi Racecourse in the evening after the alliance broke up, BJP president Amit Shah will also meet his party workers and discuss the election strategy at the party’s Dadar office. It will be the first time after the alliance broke up that both the leaders will be in Mumbai and hold important meetings and rallies regarding the future course of action.