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From college to constituency

Thursday, February 09, 2012
By Robin Shukla

Former student leaders will lock horns in Ward no.5

Sandesh Kondwilkar, a Congress loyalist for 32 long years, is contesting from Ward no.5. Although this is the first time ever that he is standing for BMC elections, Kondwilkar seems doubly qualified to do so, having worked in the BMC for as many as 22 years. He moved out as Senior Legal Officer of the civic body some years ago.

Kondwilkar, who started his political career in the National Students Union of India (NSUI) where he was Mumbai treasurer, is ironically pitted against two other student leaders in the ward. One is Prakash Darekar of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, who is relatively unknown compared to his brother MNS MLA and local strongman, Pravin Darekar. His candidature is being viewed more as Pravin Darekar’s fight by proxy than anything else, given the splurging of MLA funds in the area and the pleasure trips being organized for local residents. 

The other candidate in the fray is Sanjay Ghadi of the Shiv Sena who, as former member of the party’s youth wing, the Yuva Sena, has rubbed shoulders with Aditya Thackeray, and in the good old days when the Thackeray family was united, was mentored by none other than Raj Thackeray himself.  

Sandesh Kondwilkar of the Congress is however seen by local residents as the cleanest of the three contestants, and has promised to root out corruption when he comes to power. The other poll promises are conveyance to all buildings where pending, 50 per cent of water supply from the mid-Vaitarna project to be diverted for North Mumbai, reconstruction of all major nullahs, most of which are over 50 years old, providing civic amenities to private layouts like Ashokvan where there are as many as 52 buildings without proper roads and sewerage lines, gardens to be developed by the BMC without private participation, upgrading of municipals schools, and the BEST transport system in the area. The other parties are also vouching to fulfill similar promises.

(Ward no. 5 covers a vast area, and victory here is being seen as a major prestige issue: Ashokvan, Savarkar Nagar, Chowgule Nagar, Maruti Nagar, Chintamani Nagar, Mini Nagar, Gopi Nagar and Deshmukh Residency in Dahisar East. Also the slum pockets of Ganesh Nagar, Santosh Nagar, Sambhaji Nagar and Hanuman tekdi) 

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