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No money, but that’s no worry

india Updated: Sep 29, 2009 01:12 IST
Shashank Rao
Shashank Rao
Hindustan Times
Neela Desai

Neela Desai, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena: Rs 1.34 crore.

Aslam Shaikh, Congress: Rs 70.5 lakh.

Ramugraha Singh, Bharatiya Janata Party: Rs 36.18 lakh.

Mahatam Singh Morya, Independent: Rs 25,000.

The worth of Morya’s assets stands out in the list of crorepati candidates contesting in the Assembly polls. But the lack of money to spend on elections has not deterred this 39-year-old autorickshaw driver from deciding to contest the polls.

The Class 10 dropout has filed his nomination papers from Malad. He will take on Congress’ Shaikh, BJP’s Singh and MNS’s Desai.

A resident of Mumbai since 2000 — he lives in a Malwani slum — Morya is contesting the polls in the city for the first time but has been in the poll fray before.

“I last fought elections in my village in Uttar Pradesh,” he said. “I know I don’t have enough money, but am asking people to spread the word about me.”

Morya is trying to spend as little as he can on his campaign, using the autorickshaw he plies to go door to door asking for votes. He has rented a vehicle for use until the polls.

He is also gathering a support base through his campaign slogan ‘Ek vote do aur ek aadmi do (Give me a vote and a helping hand)’.

“I am asking my friends and relatives to contribute towards my campaign because I have financial constraints,” he said.

The issues Morya has taken up seem to have been shortlisted from personal experiences. His primary concern is to improve the life of slumdwellers and ensure they get sufficient drinking water.

“High societies waste more than 90 litres of water in flushing toilets,” said Morya. “This is approximately how much we slumdwellers use the entire day.”