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Usual Suspects

Usual Suspects
The Mumbai electoral scene, at the time of writing, is a confused one. Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray has apparently decided to renominate all those who won last time (the BJP-Sena alliance swept all six Mumbai Lok Sabha seats), no matter how they have performed. This includes Madhukar Sarpotdar from Mumbai Northwest. Sarpotdar was caught red-handed by the army with a jeep full of illegal arms during the Mumbai riots following the Babri Masjid demolition. The joint police commissioner of Mumbai at the time was Ram Deo Tyagi who—surprise, surprise—joined the Sena after retirement and was expecting to get a safe seat. His role during the riots is now being examined closely.

The Congress ticket for Mumbai Northeast is all set to go to Najma Heptullah, while the political editor of Midday, Abhay Mokashi, is standing as an independent. It won't be so easy for the BJP's suave, high-profile and cellphone-carrying bagman, Pramod Mahajan. He will probably be pitted against Gurudas Kamat of the Congress. With the Congress allied to the Republican Party of India, Kamat is said to have more than an even chance. Meanwhile, in the business area of South Mumbai, the business-savvy Murli Deora of the Congress is again pitted against the BJP's Jaywantibehn Mehta. He could turn the tables on her this time. Poor T.N. Seshan, who was also expecting to get a Sena ticket for unspecified services rendered in the past when he was chief election commissioner, but has been left out in the cold. A Sena ticket for him from Amethi?

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