Times of India
Roana Maria Costa & Viju B

MUMBAI: Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi, who is contesting from Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar constituency-which is known for having a huge slum population as well as a large number of people relocated due to civic projects-is Mumbai's richest assembly candidate with assets of Rs 126.88 crore. Independent candidate Abdul Merchant, standing from the same constituency, has declared Rs 6.01 crore.

At the other end of the spectrum is Raghunath Rane (Independent), Ranjeet Misal (Independent), Mohammed Bukhari (Independent), Sanchit Borade (Independent), Subhash Putran, PRI (D), Sayed Aftab (Independent) and Sabir Chouhan (Independent). All of them have declared zero assets.

Mankhurd also has the maximum number of candidates, 26.

National Election Watch (NEW), Maharashtra, an umbrella organisation for over 1,200 NGOs and citizens' groups, on Monday released data complied from the affidavits of 470 of 705 candidates contesting the polls in Mumbai and Thane districts. City-based NGOs, under the banner of Mumbai Election Watch, have formulated a citizens' charter and sent it to all the major political parties (see box).

"We demand the immediate adoption of the police commission's recommendations and the impartial enforcement of law and speedy justice. We also want the Nagar Raj bill to be passed and the implemenation of the public disclosure law,'' said Ajit Ranade, of Maharashtra Election Watch. NEW sent the charter Manikrao Thackeray (Congress), R R Patil (NCP) Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena), Nitin Gadkari (BJP) and Raj Thackeray (MNS).

NEW analysis of different aspects-like criminal records, individual assets and educational qualification-throw up some interesting findings. Dharavi and Mumbadevi are the only two constituencies where not a single candidate faces criminal charges.

The NEW report shows that there are more than 100 crorepatis standing in the polls in Mumbai and Thane. "Of the total of 470 candidates we analysed data for, the candidates put forth by the BJP had the highest perecentage of crorepatis, with 80%. This was followed by NCP (73%),'' according to a NEW representative.

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