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Will Raj Thackeray give Nashik its first Muslim Mayor?

Sunday February 19, 2012 10:59:41 AM, Staff Reporter

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Nashik: Nashikites have voted for a change. So, for a change, will Raj Thackeray give Nashik its first Muslim Mayor? The question is being asked in the Central Nashik ever since Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) emerged as a single largest party in the 2012 civic elections and dislodged Shiv Sena which was ruling the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) since last two terms.


"While seeking a change, Nashikites have voted overwhelmingly for the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) irrespective of caste and religion. What is more important is that the Muslims, who have won the elections on MNS tickets, have not won from the Muslim pockets. They have been elected to the civic body by the votes of all communities", Ms Daraksha Shaikh, who claims to be an MNS supporter says while speaking to


Stating that the results of the elections show the strong public mood in favour of drastic changes at all levels, Ms Darakasha says that it is time the MNS top leadership introduces new, young and dynamic leaders in Nashik. "Electing a Muslim mayor can be one of the options for the MNS top brass to covey strongly that it prefers business above politics", she says.


Like Ms Daraksha, there are others who also feel that a Muslim Mayor in Nashik is long over due and it will be most appropriate if Raj Thackeray does it. Stating that a Muslim Mayor in Nashik by MNS will send a very strong political message all across the state, Aaquib Khan, a student, says, "It will also help the MNS to completely override years of 'Sena misrule' in Nashik and erase bitter experience from people's memory." 


The newly elected 122-member Nashik Civic Body results of which were announced Friday has six Muslims as corporators. This is the first time in the last 20 years history of the civic body which runs Nashik - the fastest growing city in Maharashtra that it has elected six Muslims.


While Maharashtra Navnirman Sena which emerged as the single largest party in the elections has sent three Muslims - Gulzar Konkani, Suhail Baig and Shaikh Saleem, two Muslims Ms Memon Samina and Sufiyan Ibrahim have won the elections on the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) tickets. The sixth Muslim corporator Ms Shabana Pathan is an independent.


In a city of around 1.5mn people, Muslims constitute around 3,50,000 population distributed in different parts of Nashik. Local Muslims feel that they were completely voiceless during the Sena rule and hence they were neglected and suppressed at every level.


In fact, few months before the Municipal elections, the Muslims had to struggle for support for taking possession of the land reserved for a cemetery in the CIDCO area.


Ironically, there are also disputes in other lands which are reserved for Qabristan. It is also alleged that a Sena Corporator in fact virtually sold the Qabrsitan land located in Gangapur area of the city after changing its purpose.


"It is because of these facts and daily goonda-gardi in the city that the locals dislodged them from the power", Muneeb Khan, a local, says.


All eyes are now on Raj Thackeray to see how he moves forward to get the needed support to bag power. Having won 40 seats, Raj needs the support of 21 more members to reach to the magic figure and rule the Nashik Civic Body.


A senior MNS leader while speaking to says that Raj will be visiting the city Sunday to chalk-out the future strategy and also to assess the possibility of an alliance with other parties.









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