Mumbai: Jailed mafia
don Arun Gawli's party Akhil Bharatiya Sena (ABS) will contest 25
of the 227 seats of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)
in the Feb 16 elections, a party official said Thursday.
Gawli, who is in jail since the past three years, was due to be
released last week, but the authorities have pushed it back in
view of the civic elections in the state in two phases - Feb 7 and
His daughter and party general secretary Geeta Gawli, who is
handling all his affairs in his absence, said that the ABS has
decided to field candidates in 25 wards, mostly in south-central
Mumbai, where Gawli enjoys support.
"Contrary to speculation in some political circles, we are not
targeting any political party or groups, but are 'targeting' on
people's support for us," Geeta told IANS, referring to Shiv Sena
contention that ABS candidates are being put up in
Congress-Nationalist Congress Party strongholds.
Last time, the ABS had won two seats in the BMC - one was won by
Geeta and the other by her aunt Vandana Gawli (Arun Gawli's
sister-in-law). Other party candidates had lost.
Earlier in the 2004 Maharashtra assembly elections, Gawli himself
had won from the Chinchpokli constituency.
Incidentally, his nephew Sachin Ahir is a senior Nationalist
Congress Party leader and a minister of state in the government.
Though Gawli has been nabbed and acquitted in several cases in the
past few years, he was re-arrested three years ago and jailed in
the killing of Shiv Sena leader Kamlakar Jamsandekar.
"He was expected to be released from Taloja Jail, Raigad, last
week. But owing to the civic elections in Mumbai and the rest of
the state, the authorities have postponed it by a month," said
She admitted that the party sorely feels Gawli's absence and "we
miss Daddy's blessings." (Gawli is addressed as 'Daddy' both by
his supporters and party workers).
However, she declared that her party would put up its best
performance and offer him a "surprise gift" on his release from