While the MNS was the first party to start the screening process of aspirants by conducting a written test in December last year,like other parties,its list of candidates is still under wraps.
Party leaders said the first list of candidates would be declared on January 27. As the first list would be declared on Friday from Mumbai,we are not aware of the details but we are expecting it will have 50-60 names, said Bala Shedge,one of the two city chiefs of MNS. While in the 2007 PMC elections,the MNS was not able to field candidates in all wards,this time the party is working towards fielding candidates in each ward.
We are working towards fielding candidate in each ward. It is possible that owing to last- minute caste certificate issues,some of the candidates may be forced to take back their nominations,especially in the wards reserved for women and a few wards may go without an MNS candidate. But at present,there are enough aspirants, said Shedge,who gave attributed the hike in number of aspirants to the innovative experiment of conducting a written exam.
Prakash Dhore,the other MNS city unit president,who is responsible for party affairs in Vadgaonsheri,Kothrud,Khadakwasla and Hadapsar assembly constituencies,around 950 aspirants had taken the written examination and subsequent interview held by party president Raj Thackeray.
However,on the campaign front,there is some cause for concern in the MNS city unit. Leaders were hoping for a rally by Thackeray in each of eight assembly constituencies and an additional one at the city level but it has turned out that the MNS chief would not be able to address all the rallies. Poll campaigns will be on in Mumbai,Nashik and Thane,apart from Pune. Chances of him addressing all the rallies in the city,as initially planned,are bleak, said Shedge. This could prove a handicap for the MNS as in absence of its star campaigner,Thackeray,it does not have any crowd-puller or a second band of the speakers.
The party is planning to sidestep the issue by resorting to innovative campaign methods. We are planning to stage street plays,use video conferencing and so on, said Shedge.