Maharashtra polls: Many first timers in the fray

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Maharashtra polls: Many first timers in the fray

Hansel D'Souza

Mumbai:  First time candidates, some with no political experience took on heavyweights in the recent Mumbai Lok Sabha elections. Termed as the 26/11 effect at the time, this trend continues in the Maharashtra state Assembly elections as well.

Teachers, activists, lawyers and even farmer widows are fighting elections.

Hansel D'Souza, a professor, is contesting from Mumbai's Andheri West constituency and is pitted against the Congress and the Shiv Sena. Backing him is the Jagruk Nagrik Manch a group of 50 Mumbai NGOs.

"If you look at what's happening around us, the economy is growing and we are doing well in every sphere but governance is the pits. And that's because we have such poor levels of participation and decision making," says D'souza.

Dolphy D'Souza, another first time candidate, says: "Political parties do not give space to good candidates. That's why I decided to contest on my own so people will feel motivated to participate."

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The trend of first time candidates is not just limited to Mumbai. In suicide country Vidarbha, four farmer widows are fighting the elections as candidates of an NGO Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti.

But like in the Lok Sabha elections, these first timers may find it difficult to make a substantial impact on election results. But their growing involvement is a sign of change. Politics clearly is no longer such a dirty word. 

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