Mumbai: Several influential Congress leaders were conspicuous by their absence when the grand old party interviewed ticket aspirants from Mumbai.
Former minister and Mumbai Congress president Kripashankar Singh was the most prominent name among the absentees. Aslam Shaikh, the Malad West MLA, too did not attend the interview. Dharavi MLA Varsha Gaikwad also failed to turn up.
Former Maharashtra unit president Manikrao Thakre and former minister Harshavardhan Patil had interviewed ticket seekers from the city. The duo had interviewed aspirants from Mumbai South, South Central and North Mumbai on Tuesday, those from the remaining parts of the city were interviewed on Wednesday. However, the Congress party claimed that it had received “overwhelming” response from aspirants.
When contacted, Mr Singh told The Asian Age that he did not formally apply for the ticket since the party leaders know him very well. “I will put forth my views regarding my candidature during the parliamentary committee meeting on August 7 and 8,” Mr. Singh added. Mr Shaikh and Ms Gaikwad, who is the daughter of Mumbai Congress working president Eknath Gaikwad, were not available for the comment.
The Congress and its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), have been facing several defections since the end of the Lok Sabha election.
Recently, Congress legislator Kalidas Kolambakar, who represents Wadala constituency in the Assembly, joined the BJP along with three NCP legislators. Maharashtra goes to polls in September-October 2019.