In a bid to woo Marathi voters, the Mumbai unit of the BJP under the presidentship of Ashish Shelar, has launched a number of programmes. During Shiv Jayanti recently, the party asked all its ward committees to celebrate the occasion in a grand manner and outdo the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena in this regard. Party cadres went out of their way to make a huge success of Shiv Jayanti.
What is 'Jaanta Raja'?
Now, Shelar is organising the mega drama 'Jaanta Raja' revolving around the life and achievements of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Crores of rupees are being spent on the drama being held at the sprawling Shivaji Park in Dadar. The event will be spread over several days and entry is free. Thousands of passes have been issued to people all over Mumbai.
Prashant Dingankar, a close associate of Shelar, said the response for the drama has been 'tremendous'. The elaborately mounted sets, superior lighting system and huge cast is attracting many people.Meanwhile, the party, which will be contesting the upcoming elections to the BMC in tandem with the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, has already started informal talks on the seat sharing formula. The party is shortlisting candidates in different wards.
Indications are that some of the sitting candidates, whose performance has either been lacklustre or controversial, may be replaced with young faces.
Ex-servicemen, social activists interested to contest polls
Some ex-servicemen are also evincing interest in contesting the polls on the BJP's ticket. Capt Swami Nathan, who had worked as a commando in the Indian Army, is one of the aspirants for a ticket in Ghatkopar (East).
A prominent social activist of Mulund Mayura Banavalli is another aspirant. She is very active through the Me Mulundkar Foundation founded by her and her husband, Rahul. The party plans to maintain a balance between Marathi and non-Marathi candidates. The organisation has a base among Uttar Bharatiyas and Gujaratis and has its strongholds in Borivli, Kandivli, Malad, Ghatkopar, Mulund , Kalbadevi etc.
It is learnt that Union Home Minister Amit Shah is evincing keen interest in the poll since it involves the capture of the BMC with its budget of Rs52,000 crore is the most prestigious civic body in the country.
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