Thaindian News

Mumbai, Oct 5 (IANS) Living up to its image as the country’s commercial capital, Mumbai and its surrounding will see a whopping 122 crorepati candidates across the political spectrum contesting the forthcoming state assembly elections, a public watchdog revealed here Monday. The city will also have the largest number of candidates whose educational qualifications are below Class 10 pass, according to a survey by the NGO, Maharashtra Election Watch (MEW).

The MEW, which has several prominent NGOs as members, found that while the number of candidates with incomes in crores has gone up, those with criminal backgrounds has receded slightly, said MEW activist Ajit Ranade, a trustee of the Association of Democratic Reforms.

The MEW compiled data of 470 of the total 705 candidates contesting the Oct 13 state assembly elections from 36 constituencies in Mumbai and 24 constituencies in Thane.

Of these 122 millionaires, the BJP’s candidates account for the lion’s share - 80 percent of them. Its ally, the Shiv Sena, leads the list of criminal candidates — 26 percent of its total contestants have criminal records.

Leading the pack of crorepatis is Maharashtra Samajwadi Party Abu Asim Azmi with a declared wealth of Rs.126 crore and the highest liability of Rs.4.82 crore.

The total net worth of these crorepatis is Rs.849 crore - giving an average wealth of Rs.1.80 crore per crorepati candidate.

On the crime front, one Independent candidate - Bhavesh Bhinde, contesting from Mulund constituency in north-east Mumbai - has 23 criminal cases registered against him.

His record is far bigger compared to the former don-turned-politician and Akhil Bharatiya Sena (ABS) chief Arun Gawli, contesting from Byculla constituency. Gawli has just nine cases against him.

Of the total 705 candidates in the fray from the city, 470 belong to various registered political parties.

As many as 137 of these 470 contestants do not have the primary document - a permanent account number (PAN) cards.

As far as the academics go, only 23 candidates have post-graduate degrees, including professional qualifications like of a doctor or a lawyer.

There are only 99 graduates with some sort of recognized university degree, while 127 have cleared Class 10, or secondary school examination. The rest are at various levels below Class 10, the MEW said.

The MEW is still in the process of compiling data of the Independents in the fray in the 60 constituencies of Mumbai, Ranade said.

MEW consists of organisations like AGNI, Association for Democratic Reforms, Public Concern for Government Trust, Dignity Foundation, Bombay Catholic Sabha, NAGAR and Mohalla Committee Movement Trust.

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