Chips off the new block

A crop of young faces, many of them children of well-salted politicians, are in the fray this civic election. They say education is a must, and the BMC must be corruption-free to provide civic amenities.

February 11, 2017 11:35 pm | Updated 11:35 pm IST

Name: Sana Sheikh

Party: NCP

Age: 30

Ward: 165

Area: Kurla

An architect by profession, Ms. Sheikh is a successful businesswoman and has been involved in social activities in her ward for the last five years. She comes from a family of politicians: her father Nawab Malik is a former NCP MLA. Ms. Sheikh, who lives with her husband and two children, sees the election as an opportunity to engage youth and her voters in the democratic process. “I wonder why youngsters are always labelled as uninterested in politics. My observation is, they are more interested in it. We need to channelise this energy in the right manner,” she says. If elected, her areas of focus would be roads, drinking water and digitisation of government services. “There are areas where basic human rights are being violated by denying drinking water. I am here to change things.”

Name: Arati Pugavkar

Party: BJP

Age: 30

Ward: 199

Area: Worli

No newcomer to politics, Ms. Pugavkar has been an active member of the BJP’s youth wing for nearly six years now, and has been involved in several agitations undertaken by the youth wing. Thanks to her father Chandrakant Pugavkar, a sitting BJP corporator from Worli, she knows how the system works. A visiting professor at several city colleges, she teaches Bachelor of Management Studies students and keeps in touch with what the youth think and want. She also holds a law degree. “Youth are keen on participating in politics, but they are in search of a good process to be a part of it. They want to be a part of change, and that change will come only when more youngsters are seen in decision-making positions,” she said. Her ward in Worli, she adds, doesn’t have a college. “My ambition is to set up a college in my ward. Protection of open spaces and security are issues of utmost concern.”

Name: Amey Ghole

Party: Shiv Sena

Age: 30

Ward: 178

Area: Wadala

A businessman who comes from a family of staunch Shivsainiks, Mr. Ghole is an integral part of Aaditya Thackeray’s Yuva Sena, and known to be close to him. His candidature initially created ripples, but the Sena leadership stood firm on its decision. “As many of our party leaders have repeatedly said, this election is set to introduce new leadership everywhere. I am being given the opportunity by saheb and I am not going to let him down,” he said. A former student of Poddar College, Mr. Ghole also holds a diploma in management from Welingkar Institute. He has plans to set up gyms, an e-library and self-defence classes. Beautification of play grounds is also on his priority list.

Name: Neil Somaiya

Party: BJP

Age: 26

Ward: 108

Area: Mulund

The youngest candidate in the fray, Mr. Somaiya is a former general secretary of Kelkar College in Mulund. After completing his MBA in Human Resources, he has now enrolled for a PhD in Public Relations. His father is BJP MP Kirit Somaiya. “I want to be the link between today’s youth and the government. This is an era in which well-educated youth in politics is the real need of the hour, and I am here to deliver promises.” Being well-educated, though is not the only criteria for being a good politician, he says. “Unless you work at the ground level. nobody takes you seriously. He also feels criticism shouldn’t be given too much importance. “Those against you will always keep talking trash about you. Why lose your control?”

Name: Samadhan Sarvankar

Party: Shiv Sena

Age: 29

Ward: 194

Area: Dadar

In Dadar, Samadhan Sarvankar is a familiar name as his father, Sadanand Sarvankar is the Shiv Sena MLA from Mahim. Samadhan has been in the public eye for six years now, organising cultural programmes and working for social welfare. Born and brought up in Dadar, he runs a reputed hotel in the area. “I have enough money to survive. I don’t need politics to earn money. It is due to my passion and love for the Shiv Sena that I am here,” he says. He is also a key aide of Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray. Samadhan dismisses allegations of nepotism. “I have been with the party for nearly a decade. We have worked for the party and have the responsibility to keep Dadar saffron. The young generation should take matters in their hand to deliver clean governance. I think my candidature will only help the case.”

Name: Chetan Pedanekar

Party: MNS

Age: 39

Ward: 206

Area: Sewri

A staunch follower of MNS chief Raj Thackeray from his pre-MNS days, Mr. Pedanekar is a familiar face in Sewri and a trusted aide of former party MLA Bala Nandgaonkar. He is also easily accessible by mediapersons and is known for his PR skills. Coming from a middle class Marathi family, Mr. Pedanekar is a firm believer in the MNS chief and rejects claims that Mr. Thackeray no longer appeals to the youth. “Look at my campaign or that of any MNS candidate. Who do you see on road? It is the young generation which believes firmly on Rajsaheb and continue to support him,” he said. He feels MNS is the only answer to corruption in the BMC and to keep it safe from unscrupulous contractors. “Prioritising young Marathi men and women in jobs, providing security to people in my area, ensuring good roads are my promises,” he said.

Name: Alpa Jadhav

Party: Congress

Age: 36

Ward: 65

Area: Andheri (W)

Alpa Jadhav would have found a well-paying job abroad after completing her MBA course from London, but chose to return and work for her father Ashok Jadhav, an MLA. “For me, this is an opportunity to prove that women with opinions can deliver development. I am not interested in being labelled as someone’s rubber stamp. This is a challenge which I have accepted,” she says. Being well-educated, she says, means more responsibility to society. “I don’t accept the concept that being more educated means one should move out in search of a job. Such people should show more interest in politics for the country’s development and future.” Her focus areas would be roads, water and sanitation. “I believe in delivering promises. I am here to make a change,” she says.

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