Even though it just one ward going for poll, the police department, said sources, would like to “assure an incident free Sunday”. Ward no 88 is now a ladies OBC ward after the delimitation was carried out. With just 43% voting during the civic poll in April 2015 poll this ward lagged behind the average 49% of votes, as per NMMC data. Now all the three big parties are attempting to secure a higher voter turnout and also retain their support base, sources added.
Sources are claiming that NCP strongman, Ganesh Naik wants to have a clean slate by winning the seat. He also wants to prove the popularity of the party and “settle scores with his bitter critic, BJP MLA, Manda Mhatre”. Naik has put his bet on Shilpa Kambli, who stood as an independent candidate in the April poll and scored just 59 votes. BJP has selected Saraswati Patil, a former corporator. Patil’s husband is one of the six BJP corporators who had won the April 2015 civic poll.
The Congress has retained the candidate, Nutan Digambar Raut, as it is confident of winning the bypoll for the ward. BJP MLA Manda Mhatre said, “We have targeted NCP and Congress, who opposed the smart city plan. Our party is pro-development and we have a good candidate.”
She is hoping that BJP wins, on the promise of infra development like demand of 4 FSI for old Cidco buildings, as a New Year gift for the CM. The bypoll was forced due to the death of NCP corporator, Shashikala Maladi in October last year.