Adolf D’Souza has shown that you need not be a seasoned politician or the son of a seasoned politician to sweep the polls. You need not even have the backing of a political party. All you need is a solid body of work to showcase and people will trust you with their vote.
The 44-year-old Juhu resident won the civic polls from ward number 63 with 4,500 votes. Pitted against former corporator Pushpakant Mhatre and Bhartiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Ameet Satam, a 30-year-old management graduate who is also personal assistant to senior BJP leader, Gopinath Munde - D’Souza garnered a lead of over 600 votes. He fought as an independent candidate supported by the local ward committee, which is a body of residents from the ward.
As his supporters in the upper middle-class locality readied themselves for a biryani celebration, D’Souza was busy taking congratulatory calls. "We were preparing for victory," D’Souza told HT over the phone minutes after his win. “We were confident.”
This exporter of gift articles attributes his win to the ‘goodwill of individuals and citizens’ groups’ in his area. Praful Vora, a local resident and member of the Ward Committee that nominated D’Souza, said that D’Souza’s victory was certain. "We received support not just from the bungalow wallahs and flat wallahs but also from hawkers and shopkeepers, it was amazing," Vora revealed.
Actor and Rajya Sabha member Shabana Azmi, who was among those who actively campaigned for D’Souza, said she was ‘over the moon’. "For me this is really a victory of citizens and what they can achieve when they come together," Azmi said. “It is an indication of how in a true democracy citizens’ participation can win.”
Azmi added that the support of salaried professionals, who sacrificed work to campaign for D’Souza and prominent faces like actors Anil Kapoor and Diya Mirza strengthened the candidate’s chances.
For D’Souza, entering the civic body is a natural extension of his decade-long association with social activism. Awareness regarding social issues started in his childhood when he participated social activities through the Church. An active member of the Juhu Citizens Welfare Group, D’Souza was among the people who successfully led the drive for the beautification of Juhu beach.
He is also a member of Action for Good Governance and Networking (AGNI) in India. “Wherever citizens are involved actively, victory is assured,” D’Souza declared.
On his agenda now is to make the civic body more citizen friendly and transparent. “There will be more accountability and people’s participation,” D’Souza said. “This is just the beginning.”
(with inputs from Snehal Rebello)