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Everyone wants to be an MLA

One constituency with 26 candidates, another with 24. As delimitation — the redrawing of constituency borders on the basis of the latest (2001) census — merges constituencies in the more thinly populated island city, the result is a glut of candidates vying for the reduced seats.

india Updated: Oct 01, 2009 00:29 IST
Sujit Mahamulkar

One constituency with 26 candidates, another with 24. As delimitation — the redrawing of constituency borders on the basis of the latest (2001) census — merges constituencies in the more thinly populated island city, the result is a glut of candidates vying for the reduced seats.

The Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar Assembly constituency, home to a mammoth slum area, has a record number of 26 candidates in the fray this time around.

Malabar Hill, the formerly plush segment that has now been expanded to include Opera House and Girgaum, has 24 people in the fray.

“We had 30 nominations in Mankhurd on Friday,” said returning officer for the constituency Jeevan Galande. “Four of them withdrew, but we still have the highest number of candidates in the city.”

In Malabar Hill, just one nominee withdrew, though the fight will be largely between sitting MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha (54, BJP), Rajkumar Bafna (47, Congress) and Archit Jaykar (27, MNS).

In Mankhurd, the fight will be between Shahid Raza Baig, son-in-law of Shiv Sena leader Suresh Gambhir and the saffron combine’s official candidate, the Samajwadi Party’s Abu Azmi and Syed Ahmed of the Congress.

Analysts put the large number of contenders down to the spending power in these areas, and the fact that more people here are willing to risk big bucks for the instant power that comes with a political post.

“In Mumbai’s case, delimitation has seen several constituencies merge,” said political commentator Surendra Jondhale. “So aspirants from various segments want to test their political muscle. The number of votes that they, especially the Independents, garner in these elections will decide their future course of action.”

Meanwhile, across the city, 36 seats, there is a total of 423 candidates for 36 seats — a total of 501 nominations were filed, but some were withdrawn.

In the island city, which is down from 17 seats in the last election to 10 in this, there is a total of 124 candidates. A total of 7,199 people filed nominations across the state for 288 seats, of which 5,864 remain in the race.