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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Citizens’ candidates get political support

MUMBAI: The citizens' initiative to field independent, apolitical candidates in the 2012 civic polls got a boost with members of non-mainstream parties like The Professionals Party of India (PPI) pledging their support to the endeavour. This development proves that the clarion call given by citizens' groups and activists for a transparent and cleaner government is getting louder with each passing day.

Fed up of the apathetic attitude of their elected representatives and spurred on by Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign, citizens on Monday launched Mumbai 227, a platform to encourage apolitical citizens to contest the civic elections as citizens' consensus candidates.

Dr Mona Shah, who had contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 as a PPI candidate from South Mumbai, said, "I am still associated with the PPI. We will support Mumbai 227 and are happy that people have banded together for better governance. This will improve things, there will be a lot of churning in the political scenario with citizens' participation. "

Lesser-known parties like the Lok Satta too have jumped on the bandwagon and are positioning themselves as 'citizens' parties'. Lok Satta has promised to provide corruption-free regime with active participation from citizens. President of Lok Satta Dr Kedar Diwan said, "The party was launched in 2006 with the sole purpose of forming a citizen-centric government. The general impression is that certain families hold the reins of the country's political parties. Most of the MPs in Mumbai are children of existing politicians. It is difficult for new leaders who want to serve the society to participate in the political process."

Santosh Avatramani, who is at the forefront of Mumbai 227 and had contested the 2009 assembly poll on a PPI ticket from Malabar Hill, said he is no longer with the party. "PPI had no intention of fielding candidates in civic polls, but backs independent candidates," he said.


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