More than 300 citizens' groups got together on Monday to launch Mumbai227, a political forum that plans to put up independent citizen-backed candidates for the upcoming civic elections.
Candidates will be fielded from each of the 227 electoral wards. Hence the name, Mumbai227. Many in the forum claim this is the first serious move to edge out political groups from the city's civic body.
Adolf D'Souza, Mumbai's first-ever citizens group-backed independent candidate, who won the civic polls in 2007, is a part of the forum. The group has already identified around 55 potential candidates.
Banking on the momentum gathered after D'Souza's election as a corporator in 2007, as well as the recent Anna Hazare protests that galvanised the urban middle-class in the city, Mumbai227 volunteers are optimistic about their chances.
The forum has devised a highly decentralised selection process, at the end of which each of those selected will be nominated as citizen group-backed candidates of their respective wards. D'Souza told HT, "We will have a voters' representative council (VRC) in every ward where we find interested applicants. The VRC will consist of representatives from various citizens' bodies in the ward, and will conduct a series of interviews and debates with the applicants to zero in on the final candidate."
The forum will also have a centralised selection panel consisting of eminent citizens like Julio Ribeiro, Bhagwanji Rayani, V Ranganathan and other activists.
Mumbai227 plans to raise funds for the elections through individual and corporate donations.