John Lobo, 33, contesting on a Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi ticket from ward 74 —which covers parts of Marol in Andheri (East) — could well be the poorest candidate in the city. Lobo’s affidavit declares that he has no assets, no petty cash in his wallet and no house of his own.
Lobo, dressed in a crisp white shirt and corduroy pants, doesn’t mention his poverty-stricken life unless asked. The affidavit mentions running a dance class in Mira Road as his profession. He also runs a small-time event management company.
How, then, would he explain the declaration of poverty? “I live a life of uncertainties, financially. Sometimes, I get a student or two who join my course for a month or two during which I am able to meet my expenses. Bagging events is also very uncertain. Hence, I have to often survive with the help of my friends and family,” said Lobo.
A first-time contestant, Lobo said he is just following the footsteps of his maternal uncle, John Baburao, who had contested 17 elections in his life -- the BMC, Assembly and general elections – but never won. “He died two years ago and now I have decided to carry his legacy forward.”
Helped by friends and family, Lobo has spent just Rs25,000 on his campaign and just has four volunteers campaigning for him. “We don’t have the money to use vehicles. At the most, we hire an auto-rickshaw,” he said.
Lobo feels his ‘poverty’ will help him woo voters in the ward, which has a predominant slum population. “At my campaigns, I mention that I wish to serve the people despite having no money.”