As political parties speed up their exercise to decide candidates for the ensuing Assembly elections, most of the sitting legislators from the city, from all parties, are facing stiff opposition from within the party. Rivals are openly lobbying against retaining the candidature of sitting MLAs.
“Every political party has a number of contenders for the ticket on any given seat. The rivals opposing the sitting legislators are active only within the parties. However, this time round, the sitting legislators of all political parties are facing opposition from within the party,” said a senior Sena leader.
Of the eight sitting MLAs from the city, three are of the BJP, two each belong to the Shiv Sena and the Congress while one legislator is of the NCP.
BJP’s Kasba legislator Girish Bapat has got the most number of opponents, and all ticket aspirants from the party seem to have come together to oppose his renomination. They recently met Union minister Nitin Gadkari and put forth their side. The rivals are so aggressive that they are not seeing eye to eye and have been skipping each other’s functions.
Another BJP MLA Madhuri Misal too is facing opposition from within the party in Parvati Assembly seat, with her rivals campaigning against her saying she did not perform well during her tenure.
In the Shiv Sena, the opponents of Kothrud MLA Chandrakant Mokate have urged the party leadership to give opportunity to a new face, saying the sitting legislator has failed to make an impact.
Sitting Congress MLA Vinayak Nimhan, on the other hand, has been openly criticised by senior party leaders “for damaging the image of the party by his actions in the Assembly segment”.
Nimhan, who was formerly with the Shiv Sena and had defected to the Congress ahead of the previous Assembly elections, is being seen as an outsider in the Congress. “Those leaders who have come from other political parties should not be entertained any more,” said a city Congress leader.
The talk of Nimhan joining the BJP now has been making rounds for the last few months. However, city BJP leaders too don’t want him in the party and have been openly opposing his induction. A delegation even met state leaders and urged them not to bring Nimhan to the party.
A similar situation prevails in the NCP as local leaders have conveyed to the party high command their opposition to sitting MLA from Vadgaonsheri Bapu Pathare. During the interview of aspirants in Mumbai, local NCP leaders, including Bapu Karne, told party chief Sharad Pawar that Pathare had “not done any good work in the Assembly segment and was trying to take credit for work done by party corporators”. They demanded that Pathare should not be given ticket.