Fed up with the failure of the existing parties in addressing their concern, citizen organisations in Chembur are putting their weight behind two citizen candidates for the upcoming civic polls. Various citizen forums have come together and fielded Ganesh Awasthi, 39, and Sanjay Kokane, 52, from wards 149 and 152, respectively, in Chembur.
The area has issues such as pollution, traffic congestion, lack of pedestrian infrastructure, water contamination and slum redevelopment. Both these candidates are entering the poll fray for the first time and told HT that they were well versed with the issues as they have been active in citizens forums for several years.
Awasthi said that he had already identified the civic issues in his ward and released a manifesto.
Besides, they are also spreading awareness among people to improve on the voting percentage in the wards. “Chembur has rapidly transformed in the past few years, but as far as civic amenities are concerned, it is still lagging behind by 25 years,” said Awasthi, who completed his postgraduation from London Metropolitan University.
According to them, they did not have it easy while securing candidature because citizen forums field them after going through almost a three-month long process.
“I don’t belong to a political party, where they put force on people. I am a candidate of the people and was chosen by 500 of them, based on my merit,” said Awasthi, a banker.
Kokane is an interior decorator. According to political party sources, their fight would be the hardest against Sena, BJP and MNS candidates. If elected, Kokane promises to take up issue of pollution from dumping grounds and bio-medical waste incineration, besides other issues. “We have been working for the past 15 to 20 years. We know what the solutions are and how things can become better,” said Kokane.
Diamond Garden Residents Forum and other activists said that they had a plan to resolve the issues faced by their ward and area. “We will identify the people from different areas and fields such as ex-BMC officials and urban planners. We will form a core group. Everybody knows what the problems are, but we will go to the BMC with solutions to them,” said Rajkumar Sharma, president of Diamond Garden Residents Forum.