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Multiple choice: social activists,small parties enter poll ring

Like the Lok Sabha elections,which saw multi-cornered contest in Mumbai with many high-profile independent candidates in the fray...

Written by Swatee Kher | Mumbai |
September 15, 2009 11:33:06 pm

Like the Lok Sabha elections,which saw multi-cornered contest in Mumbai with many high-profile independent candidates in the fray,next month’s Assembly elections too will give voters several choices apart from the mainstream political parties.

Civic activist Hansel D’Souza,chairman of the Juhu Citizens’ Welfare Group (JCWG),is the citizens’ consensus candidate for Andheri (West),while at least two independent social movement groups have announced a decision to contest various seats.

The Professionals Party of India,which fielded two candidates in the Lok Sabha elections,is looking for Assembly candidates. The Lok Satta Party,which contested the Lok Sabha elections from Andhra Pradesh,will now field Dr Jalinder Adsule from Mumbai’s Vandre (East). Dr Adsule,a professor for social work at Nirmala Niketan college,was earlier with the Samajwadi Party.

“We are also weighing options in Satara,Aurangabad and Kalyan; we have been contacted by good people. We are looking at people with good educational qualifications,leadership qualities and no criminal record,” said Surendra Srivatsava,Maharashtra Lok Satta Party president.

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“I believe in the need of educated people to enter politics to be able to end the tradition of centralised decision-making in political parties. People should have a choice of good educated candidates in politics,” said Adsule,who has already begun door-to-door campaigns in Bandra.

The Rashtravadi Janata Party,based in Thane,has also announced that it is likely to contest 111 Assembly seats and is in the process of shortlisting candidates.

The Professionals Party of India has a top-down approach that believes in changes at parliamentary level with a trickle-down effect,but it is now looking at the Assembly elections.

“We have a stringent evaluation system for selecting candidates. We will enter the fray if we get a number of good candidates,” said R V Krishnan,party president.

“We believe in a top-down approach,which is why we contested the Lok Sabha elections. However,we are not ruling out contesting the Assembly elections.”

The collectorates are also gearing up for multi-cornered elections in the city,with arrangements being made for additional electronic voting machines.

In the Lok Sabha elections,Mumbai North had 23 candidates after more than 40 had filed nominations,leaving authorities worried about an EVM shortage.

“We had an issue with EVMs in the Lok Sabha elections,which had a large number of candidates. We have taken care of requirements this time,” said suburban district collector Vishwas Patil.

In the fray
* Hansel D’Souza,civic activist and Juhu Citizens’ Welfare Group (JCWG) chairman,from Andheri (West)
* Dr Jalinder Adsule: Social worker,for Lok Satta Party,from Mumbai’s Vandre (East). Party also hopes to contest seats in Satara,Aurangabad,Kalyan
* Professionals Party of India: Looking for candidates
* Rashtravadi Janata Party: Thane-based party shortlisting candidates for 111 seats

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