In Kalyan-Dombivli, parties have caved in to the demand of 27 villages that insist on not being part of KDMC; decide not to field candidates
As the elections for the hotly contested Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporations draws near, there’s one set of wards that stands out — it doesn’t want to be a part of the process. Interestingly, most political parties have also agreed to not contest from the area.
Residents from 27 villages protest outside Dombivli’s Savitribai Phule auditorium. Pic/Shrikant Kuperkar
The few candidates who try to file their nominations are greeted by angry mobs. Of the 122 wards in KDMC, the 27 villages, comprising mainly of the Aagri community, account for 21 wards. They are spread across Kalyan, Dombivli and Vitthalwadi.
Since last week, they have been claiming that they do not want to be part of the municipal corporation and hence, are standing outside the Dombivli’s Savitribai Phule auditorium where candidates have to file their nominations.
The villagers argue that they will be soon separated from KDMC, to become a council, and it’s pointless fielding a candidate from their wards. In fact, these villages which fall in the Kalyan rural region were included within the KDMC ambit by the BJP-led state government in March this year.
However, the BJP later realised that the majority of voters here are from the Aagri community who vote for Shiv Sena en masse. The villagers didn’t want to be a part of KDMC and the BJP, which is not contesting the polls with the Sena, preferred not to face the tough competition.
So, it has decided to support the villagers, saying it won’t field candidates from the wards. Now, the Congress and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) too have announced their support to villagers. Nitin Sardesai of the MNS added, “We have told the villagers that we will support them, but if any party contests election, we will also be forced to.”
Gulab Waze, senior member of the Sarva Pakshiya Hakk Savrakshan Samiti, who is leading the protest, said, “We are just telling candidates that they shouldn’t file a nomination from these seats of 27 villages as we are soon going to be removed from KDMC. There has been no use of force.”
“No one can stop anyone from filing nomination. If that’s happening, the police can take action,” said JS Saharia, state election commissioner.