Even before Mumbai Police Commissioner Satypal Singh quit the force to join politics, a former Director General of Police (DGP), who fought the Lok Sabha polls on a Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket a decade ago, claimed that he had a sour experience.
T K Choudhary, who retired as DGP (CID), in 2004 was preparing for life post-retirement, when he was approached by the SP. “Abu Azmi and Amar Singh approached me. I thought that it would be a good experience. They gave me a ticket to contest the Mumbai south-central Lok Sabha constituency,” he said.
Having now given up his political ambitions, Choudhary has high hopes for Singh, who he had worked with closely earlier in his career.
“He has the gift of the gab His resignation will also work in his favour. No one trusts you unless you resign from your current post. He will do well with whichever party he joins. I wish him luck,” he said.
SP’s invitation, meanwhile, came at a difficult time for the just-retired Choudhary, who had been questioned by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with the multi-crore fake stamp paper scam. “Amar Singh had promised me the world,” he said.
The 69-year-old was, however, pitted against Sachin Ahir of the NCP, veteran Shiv Sena leader Mohan Rawle and gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli of the Akhil Bharatiya Sena (ABS).
While Gawli’s candidature heated up the contest, Choudhary attributed his failure at his own party.
“Five days before the elections, my campaign suddenly came to a halt. There were people who said I didn’t stand a chance, and it appears that senior SP leaders paid heed to that. Leaders of other parties influenced them. A few people who had promised to support, stopped taking my calls. But I had to put up a brave face,” he said.
Choudhary polled 22,000 votes, while Rawle got 80,000. Defeat apart, the election left Choudhary in financial ruin as well.
“During campaigning, I spent Rs 20 lakh out of my own pocket and asked the party for more funds, but none was forthcoming. It was a bad experience. I lost all my savings. A day before the elections, the state government sent me a showcause notice,” he recalled. Choudhary recently received his due arrears after a lengthy legal battle.
After the defeat, Choudhary continued to work for the party for a year, but in his words, was not enamoured by either its leaders or manifesto anymore.
In 2009, the Congress came calling, offering him a ticket to fight the Lok Sabha polls in his native Jalgaon.
“Manikrao Thakre (Maharashtra Congress president) told me to fill my nomination form. But in a few days, he said the seat had been given to the NCP,” he said.