Can you trust Mumbai 227?

While the citizens' group has names of eminent Mumbaikars on its panel selecting candidates for BMC polls, some of the panellists tell MiD DAY they weren't consulted at all

The name of former top cop Julio Ribeiro features right at the crest of the list of panellists who 'selected' the 59 persons ready to contest BMC polls as citizen candidates under the banner of Mumbai 227. However, Ribeiro told this reporter that he didn't select a single contestant. Similarly, another panellist, business leader Dolphy D'souza, says he was out of town when the whole process of selection took place.

When MiD DAY asked Ribeiro what his contribution has been towards Mumbai 227 as his name is part of the selection panel, he said, "Yes, I was asked to be on the panel, and I had agreed. However, I had asked them to send me CVs of the candidates. But I didn't get any, and hence, I didn't select any candidates. I had already told them that I won't be campaigning and also won't vote specifically for Mumbai 227."
Ribeiro claims he will vote for the candidate he deems best for his constituency and it may or may not be a Mumbai 227 member.

Irked? Former top cop Julio Ribeiro is one of the selection panellists

Wish list!
On being contacted by MiD DAY regarding his role in picking Mumbai 227 candidates, D'souza said, "I was out of town during the whole process when the candidates were selected. Therefore, I am not the right person to comment on it."

So, while D'souza and Ribeiro weren't part of the selection process, their names still feature in the list of selectors. "We all know that Balasaheb is not in a position to campaign or take major decisions for Shiv Sena.

But his name is still used because people trust him. In the same way Mumbai 227, which wants to be recognised as a citizens' forum, is also using the names of eminent persons who inspire faith in people, even if those persons have done nothing significant for the party. This shows that there is no difference between political parties and the so called citizens' movement," said the trustee of a renowned NGO, wishing anonymity.

"Ribeiro had agreed that his name can be used and hence it is part of the selection panel. He is with us and also supports our cause," said Anandini Thakoor, one of the panellists, who had convinced the Padma Bhushan awardee to be part of the committee.

'Bad idea'
Shyama Kulkarni, trustee of Action for Good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI), said, "The infighting in the citizens' movement should be tackled in a way that's legitimate. If this dissension continues, political parties will have the last laugh."

From the 190 applications that Mumbai 227 received, only 61 persons could file their nomination. Two of them were disqualified. The citizens' movement previously had plans to field a candidate each for the 227 BMC wards.

The other side
Santosh Avatramani of Mumbai 227 claims that whenever they got any application for nominations, they sent it to the panellists. However, to maintain secrecy they didn't reveal which CV or application was sent to whom. "Ribeiro is a well-wisher and he is supporting us totally for the movement," he said.

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