Crorepati candidates for queen of the have-nots
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidates in Mumbai have one thing in common — all of them are worth over Rs 1 crore.india Updated: Apr 27, 2009 00:22 IST
Mohammad Ali (48)
Pravin Barve (62)
South Central Mumbai
Lakhmendra Khurana (51)
Ebrahim Shaikh (61)
Mumbai North Central
Atahar Siddhique (51)
Mumbai North West
Ashok Singh (42)
Mumbai North East
Dalit leader Maywati’s party has fielded businessman Mohammad Ali in Mumbai South, builder Ebrahim Shaikh in Mumbai North Central, BPO owner Lakmendra Khurana in Mumbai North, travel operator Atahar Siddhique in Mumbai North West, cricket administrator Pravin Barve in Mumbai South Central and businessman Ashok Singh in Mumbai North East. (See net worths in table.)
The BSP said this was part of their strategy.
“It was a deliberate decision to field crorepati candidates as money power dominates elections,” said Vilas Garud, BSP’s state chief. Rich candidates, he said, could take on the might of other parties.
“For years, we fielded poor candidates, but they were steamrolled by the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party,” he said.
Khurana has clients in the US and UK. Ali, popularly known as ‘king of the docks’ has a transport business, while Shaikh has a host of businesses like construction. Barve is a trustee of the elite Middle Income Group club.
Political analysts said money has indeed become very important.
“Elections have become commercialised; it’s virtually impossible for a clean candidate without money to compete seriously,” said Venkatesh Kumar, political scientist at Mumbai University.
The Lok Satta Party, a citizens’ group turned political party, pulled out of the poll fray as it was unable to gather funds.