Mumbai: A third time Congress candidate Suresh Taware from Bhiwandi Lok Sabha constituency is likely to be replaced by Suresh Mhatre popularly alias Balu mama.
Taware is fighting against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) sitting Member of Parliament, Kapil Patil and both are from Kunabi community. Whereas, Mhatre belongs to Agari community. There are equal number of people belonging to both the communities, approximately six lakh each. If Taware and Patil are to clash, there will be a division of Kunabi votes.
To counter this clash, Congress has contemplated selecting a candidate, Balum mama from the Agri community. According to the Congress party members, Balu mama is seen to be accepted by both the communities–Kunabi and Agri. BJP’s ally, Shiv Sena, has taken a strong objection over Patil and demanded he be replaced.
During the last five years, local Sena leaders say, Patil has harassed their workers and filed false cases against them. Sena workers have complained, Patil has not done any of their work and defeated them in local body elections despite their alliance.
Same is the case with the Congress candidate, Taware who is facing staunch opposition from 42 corporators of the Bhiwandi Municipal Corporation. These all have written a letter to Ashok Chavan, state president of the Congress demanding to replace him.
They alleged he has no follower of his own and has no grip over the party. “Congress has a lot of scope in Bhiwandi, but there are more chances of losing because of Taware,” stated the corporators. Mhatre is Shiv Sena’s sampark pramukh of Thane district and chairman of a Construction committee of the Thane Zilla Parishad.
Mhatre had contested the Bhiwandi Lok Sabha polls in 2009 as Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate and had secured more than one lakh votes. Later, he joined Sena and now, he is on the way to join the Congress. The sources from Congress claimed, Mhatre would join Congress any time soon he will be given the AB form as their official candidate.
The Bhiwandi Lok Sabha constituency has six assembly segments of which two are represented by the Sena, three by the BJP and one by the Nationalist Congress Party. Bhiwandi is to go to polls on April 29. The last date for filing nomination forms is April 9.