Ganesh Awasthi, a banker, is an unusual candidate for the BMC elections. He started off in a BMC school, went to study and work in London and then entered Mumbai’s poll cauldron as an independent candidate. Like Awasthi, many independent candidates with higher qualifications have put their hats in the ring to contest in the polls.
The 39-year-old Chembur resident contesting from ward no. 149 (Chembur) said, “The area has not changed in the past 25 years. Residents have done well, but the area has not progressed. My father is a social worker so I understood the civic issues. Now, I want to work and change things.”
Another candidate, Kamini Gogri, has visited various countries to lecture on philosophy and religion. Gogri, with a doctorate in philosophy from Mumbai University, has been assistant professor on Jainism and religion at the Mumbai University and a guest lecturer in different universities across the globe.
In 2012, she formed the Igniting Mind Foundation to work for youths in rural areas and also for solar energy, terrace farming and rain-water harvesting. The foundation conducts career guidance camps for youth in rural areas or smaller towns. Gogri is contesting from ward no. 177 (Matunga).
A tax auditor, Sunil Bhosale, is contesting from ward no. 11 (Bansinagar). Bhosale said, “I have been in discussion with people who work for clean energy. I will get solar lamps in the area. As I am a cricketer, I would ready at least ten players for the next Olympics if elected.”
Contesting from the Bansinagar ward, Vijaya Jagtap has a PhD in law and practises in the high court. She also has a degree in the public works department where she holds a degree for electrical supervision.
Pramod Shinde, a journalist, who has three post-graduation degrees, is contesting as an independent from ward no. 12. “I could only highlight the problems as a journalist and now I want to solve those issues. We keep saying politics is a sewage drain, now let us clean it.
Is Mumbai ready to elect educated candidates, who are not affiliated to political parties?
Mrudul Nile, professor, MU said, “In the end, it is the work done by the people at the grassroot level that matters. Another factor influencing the results is the political symbolism as voters usually favour a candidate from a party as it provides a sense of identity.”