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Residents hunt for own candidate

india Updated: Sep 08, 2009 02:14 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar
Sayli Udas Mankikar
Hindustan Times
Assembly polls

After tasting victory with their novel candidacy for the 2007 civic elections, citizens in the western suburbs will try to repeat their success story for the Assembly polls.

Andheri (West) citizens and NGOs, working under the banner Jagrut Nagrik Manch (JNM), will nominate a citizen consensus candidate on September 13 who will contest in the forthcoming state polls.

During the 2007 civic elections, JNM selected Adolf D’souza as citizen consensus candidate from Juhu-Cooper Hospital area. He won and became Mumbai’s first citizen corporator.

D’souza is now serving his third year in the municipal corporation.

“We have done our ground work well. We have all the statistics ready and are hoping to win once again without money, muscle and any divisive agenda,” said Mayank Gandhi, who founded JNM seven years ago.

The selection process for the consensus candidate is democratic — a simulation of the actual elections.

On September 13, over 150 representatives from 266 polling booths in the Andheri (West) constituency will cast their secret ballot for a consensus candidate for the Assembly polls.

The JNM has already sent e-mails, distributed pamphlets in the constituency — Juhu Koliwada bordering Santacruz, Juhu Scheme till Jogeshwari station — and invited interested candidates to file their nominations by Tuesday evening.

The candidates will undergo an open discussion and be interviewed by five panelists — actor-activist Shabana Azmi, Magsaysay Award winners Arvind Kejriwal and L.C. Jain, Kishan Goradia of the Sambhavna Sangh and Dr Ajit Ranade of the Association for Democratic Reforms.

“We have decided to have only five candidates on the final day, so in case there are more, we will have a pre-ballot to come to the final five,” said Gandhi.

Azmi said: “We have proved ourselves once and we want to push it forward now. We need to be active participants and not passive recipients of the political process.”

She added that the consensus candidate will be honest, clean, committed and who has proved his or her credentials.

The candidate is yet to be selected, but JNM has already chalked out its poll campaign strategy — from mohalla meetings, society meetings, street plays to banners to popularise the consensus candidate.