Politics is a rich man’s game. At least, that’s the usual belief. But bucking the trend are three candidates, who are contesting the Mumbai civic polls with empty pockets. While two of them, according to their affidavits, have zero assets, one claims to have only Rs 5,000. The irony can’t be lost as they are vying for berths in a civic body that is touted to be the richest in Asia. Mumbai Mirror finds out how they fit in the picture
Ward no. 206, Kalachowkie
Bahujan Republic Socialist Party A mong all who have joined the fray in the sleepy neighbourhood of Kalachowkie’s Chatai Chawl, which offers a mixed demographic of Maharashtrians, North Indians and Muslims, Anita Budhwant, 32, surely stands out.
Not only because she is a woman in this male bastion, but more so because she has no source of income, no asset. Anita, who has been fielded by the BRSP, is contesting a civic election for the first time. Her husband, a driver, is the sole breadwinner in the family and doesn’t have any property either. The couple lives in Anita’s parents’ house.
“These days, you have to pay lakhs to get a ticket from any major political party. Even diehard supporters, who serve a party loyally for decades, don’t get tickets. But this party (BRSP) showed faith in me. So I thought why not (contest the polls)?” said Anita, who is fighting from ward 206, which has been reserved for Other Backward Castes this time. The couple is crowd-funding the campaign with help from neighbours, relatives, friends and party workers. Neighbours even cook for the children when Anita is out campaigning.
Ward no. 223, Bhendi Bazaar Independent
A social worker all her life, it is only natural for Qadri to highlight that part of her career before the voters and pitch herself as an alternative to greedy politicians fielded by well-established parties.
She has another USP too. She and her husband have also shown no assets in election affidavits.
“It was my son, who encouraged me to contest the civic polls. He is a lecturer and is contributing financially for my ambition. Besides, my team of social workers have pitched in by printing pamphlets or banners and help in whatever little way they can,” Qadri says in fluent English. So far, she has spent around Rs 1lakh on her campaign. One of the few postgraduate candidates in the municipal polls, she has got an apt election symbol: a blackboard.
Qadri was promised a ticket by the NCP, but eventually, another candidate was favoured over her. But her campaign is being supported by the RPI. Her poll promises? “Education, water supply. I also want to become a corporator, who will be available 24X7 for my ward people,” she signed off.
Ward no. 166, Kurla
Akhil Bhartiya Sena T his candidate has some asset — Rs 5,000 to be precise. Akash Kamble can be an inspiration for many a youngster harbouring political ambition.