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'Will ally only with Congress-NCP'

Alleged underworld man Hitendra Thakur's party Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi is entering the BMC polls for the first time and plans to contest 40 seats

From Virar to Mumbai. No, we are not talking about Govinda here. Once upon a time, the Vasai-Virar belt dreaded the name of Hitendra Thakur. The same man is now entering Mumbai with his political party and will contest nearly 40 seats in the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections. The Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi (BVA) has two MLAs and one MP from the adjoining Thane district. The party is already interviewing prospective candidates here.


A Hit Debut: Hitendra Thakur, who started his political career in 1988,
contested the assembly elections on a Congress ticket in 1990 and
emerged victorious. File Pic


Veteran Marathi actor Pradip Kabre who's in charge of the party's Mumbai unit said, "We are going to contest the elections for sure. Our fight would be on the issue of development. We are interviewing people who want to be our candidates and the response is good. Soon the list would be out."

Loud and clear
However, Thakur's ire seems to be directed more at the Shiv Sena-BJP than any other party. When asked whether he's eyeing an alliance, Thakur said, "Right now there's no such plan. However, after the elections if we want to ally with anyone it would be the Congress-NCP and not any other party."

This is the first time that Thakur's party would be contesting outside his bastion. The alleged underworld man is confident that he will be able to make a mark in the BMC elections. At the same time, he is planning to field candidates in Thane and other municipal corporations that go to polls in February.

This spells more trouble for the incumbent Sena-BJP-RPI coalition, what with Congress and NCP burying their differences on Tuesday. In the last polls, Shiv Sena secured 82 seats in the 227-member corporation, just 14 more than Congress. However, Sena was in alliance with BJP, which won 27 seats, while both NCP with 13 seats and Congress decided to go it alone. RPI got three seats. Apart from that, Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which won seven seats in the last elections, has gained in strength since and is expected to eat into Sena's vote share this time.

Controversial figure
Hitendra Thakur started his political career in 1988 when he was elected as the president of Vasai Taluka Youth Congress. Two years later, at the age of 29, he contested assembly election and was elected MLA for Vasai-Virar from the Congress.

Later he formed his own political party, now known as Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi, and won three subsequent elections. He and his brother Jayendra are accused of being leaders of the underworld in the Vasai-Virar area.

Police cases against them include extortion, criminal intimidation, attempt to murder, murder, and land grab.

BVA currently holds majority in the Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC), Vasai Taluka Panchayat Samiti and various Gram Panchayats in the region. Despite having no legitimate role, Thakur continues to control the election of the Thane Zilla Parishad and the Thane Zilla Co-operative bank. As such he helped Vasant Davkhare get the post of Deputy Chairman of the Maharashtra Legislative Council three times and actor Govinda win the Mumbai North seat.

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