Over 20 lawyers have shed their symbolic black robes and entered the fray for the elections to Mumbai’s 36 constituencies. Some say they entered politics by chance,while others have always had a political ideology,recalling how they accepted cases of only those politicians who matched that ideology.
I am one of the few trustworthy lawyers the Sena-BJP has approached during every crisis. This is my first stint in politics but my affiliation with the party goes back to the days of the Emergency. I have been taking care of all cases registered against Gopinath Munde and Bal Thackeray, says Deenanath Tiwari.
Before he became BJP candidate from Kalina,Tiwari,a senior advocate of the sessions court,has been known as in- house lawyer for the party. I was part of the Youth Sangh. Though a lawyer,I have been active socially. My dedication has won me the ticket, adds Tiwari,who is pitched against Congress MLA Kripashanker Singh.
For advocate and rights activist Shakil Ahmed,politics was a natural leap after fighting against police excesses and non-implementation of the recommendations of various fact-finding panels. The unassuming lawyer is contesting as an Independent from Sion-Koliwad.
“Before Independence,lawyers across India left their profitable profession to join the struggle. This is the only profession that deals with our Constitution from very close quarters and hence advocates should be expected to work towards preserving the essence of democracy,” says Ahmed,contesting for the first time.
Criminal lawyer Rizwan Merchant,one of the highly paid and a specialist in narcotics cases,is the Samajwadi Party candidate for Bandra West. Merchant had helped Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt in the legal proceedings involved in the marriage with Manyata. “My work for the people earned me this ticket. I came in touch with Dutt after this case,” says Merchant,pitted against Dutt’s long-time friend,the Congress’s Baba Siddique.
Merchant is well-known for his high fees. “Win or lose,I will from now on take care of corruption-related cases that the slum rehabilitation project is mired in,” he promises voters.
Advocate Archit Jayakar,son of actress Smita Jayakar and senior advocate Mohan Jayakar,is contesting for the MNS from Malabar Hill. With a law degree from the UK,he practices in the Bombay High Court.
Advocate Ashish Shelare,a staunch BJP supporter and considered a close aide of Pramod Mahajan,is contesting from Bandra West against close friend Merchant.
Advocate V D More,who has helped Abbas Kazmi and K P Pawar defend Ajmal Kasab,is contesting in his hometown Satara as an Independent. He is known as “Kasab’s lawyer” back home.
Advocate Ganesh Iyer is contesting on a BSP ticket from Sion- Koliwada constituency.