With polling date for Mumbai approaching fast, all are talking about the richest candidates in the city, but there are very few people who know that poor candidates are also contesting elections. This Lok Sabha elections, there are seven ‘poorest’ candidates who will contest elections from Mumbai.
According to the Indian Express, the three poorest candidates are funded by the ‘Durbal Ghatak Aghadi’, a social group that works with the disadvantaged. The candidates are Sneha (Sagar) Kale (total assets Rs 1,500), Jatin Harne (total assets Rs 2,082), both transgenders, and Rajesh Dayal (total assets Rs 5,000), who is visually impaired, are affiliated to the Durbal Ghatak Aghadi led by Vilas Rupwate.
Vilas Rupwate told the leading daily, “Earlier I founded the Maharashtra Devdasi and Niradhar Mahila Sangathana under Latatai Sakat, who worked a lot for disadvantaged sections. She passed away in 2012 and I started actively working with the organisation and later joined the Congress. However, when Congress did not do much, I decided to quit in 2016. We have nearly nine lakh members affiliated to our organisations that comprise devdasis, widows, transgenders and other disadvantaged sections. We work on the principles of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.”
Sneha (Sagar) Kale has total assets of Rs 1,500 and is a resident of Bhandup. She collects alms from shops in the central suburbs and was also a social worker. Kale told the leading daily that she belongs from Kinnar community and is working for the rights of all disadvantaged sections. On the other hand, Jatin Harne, the other transgender nominee fighting from Mumbai’s North East constituency, has total assets of Rs 2,082. Harne is called “Gurumaa Jatinmaharaj”. In the meanwhile, Rajesh Dayal is contesting as an Independent from posh South Mumbai, although he is a Govandi resident. Dayal lost his eyesight when he was a child and now works as an acupressure therapist.
He told the Indian Express, “Mantralaya, the seat of power, is located in South Mumbai. Also, several schools for the blind are located in South Mumbai, where I have done a lot of work. Now, I’m on my way to Grant Road area where several commercial sex workers live. No politician will dare to go there but I will.”
Apart from these three are four more candidates who have assets less than Rs 21,000. An advocate Rakesh Raul, an Independent contesting from North East constituency, who has declared assets worth Rs 2,862. Then Vikas Rokade (53), fighting from South Central constituency has declared his assets worth Rs 11,000. There is a driver contesting on an Ambedkarite Party of India ticket, the Bhandup-based social worker Sukhdev Dandge (63) has declared his assets worth Rs 20,000. And Mohammad Yahya Siddique, an independent candidate from North Central constituency, has declared his assets worth Rs 5,000 in hand. Siddique is a clothes salesman from Saki Naka.