But isn't it the BMC elections?

Feb 14, 2012, 07:14 IST | Varun Singh

MLAs are publicising themselves instead of spreading word about credentials of party candidates who will contest the elections on Thursday

MLAs are publicising themselves instead of spreading word about credentials of party candidates who will contest the elections on Thursday

Let's start with the basics: for the soon-to-be conducted civic body elections, the electorate is meant to choose corporators who will represent their wards in the civic body. Many local MLAs seem to have forgotten this. Or maybe they're just cashing in on the all-pervasive campaigning spirit to steal some time under the spotlights, ignoring the fact that the BMC elections have nothing to do with them.

15 more minutes oof fame: The manifestos circulated by BJP MLA
Mangal Prabhat Lodha and the NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad pay no attention
to BMC candidates of their wards

The manifestos of contenders from parties vying for the coveted BMC seats are out, and curiously enough, they run into pages covering what the MLAs in those areas have achieved in their tenure, what their future plans for development are, and other such details. Ironically enough, little or no attention is paid to the credentials and action plan, if any, of the BMC candidates floated by that MLA's party for the February 16 polls.
Take for instance BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha, who was recently seen distributing pamphlets that sported a disproportionately large photograph of himself, and gave a detailed inventory of all the work covered by him so far. It is difficult to imagine that Lodha is not campaigning for himself, but for BMC candidates floated by the BJP-Sena-RPI alliance in Malabar Hill and adjoining constituencies.

"We expected that the candidates who are contesting the February 16 election would  meet us, but instead, the persons we have already elected during the assembly polls are accosting us," said a Mahalaxmi resident.

While it is true that most of the MLAs have played a decisive role in determining which party member to nominate for the civic body in their constituency, the candidates' voice, and their plans are getting lost in the melee.

Jitendra Awhad, the NCP MLA from Mumbra, which is a ward in the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), also going in for polls on Thursday. He too has been circulating pamphlets and booklets to each family in the ward, where he has painstakingly detailed all the work that he has done. Hoardings across the city sport blown-up images of Awhad, while the BMC aspirants from his party lurk in the inconspicuous background.

Flying to his defence, Awhad said, "I have worked for the betterment of Mumbra, and that's the reason why the booklet lists the work done by me. Also, TMC is ruled by Shiv Sena. The corporators from my party have tried to work, but have been prevented by the ruling party. Hence, I decided to undertake projects for the betterment of the area by using my MLA fund. That is the reason some parts of Mumbra are now in good shape."

Sardar Tara Singh, a BJP MLA from Mulund, has also been distributing self-congratulatory manifestos. He says, "I had a pond made for Ganpati immersions. Though I used my MLA funds, it's a BMC pond, and hence we are citing it to campaign for the BMC elections."

"We have no choice -- the MLAs are powerful people. Many of them have helped us get tickets. Rebelling against them would prove fatal for our political aspirations, so we abide by whatever they say," said a BMC candidate of a party.

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