Paresh Thakur (ward 19); Rs 95.47 Cr, Kishore Kashinath Mhatre (ward 12); Rs 37.01 Cr, Ramdas Shewale (ward 10); Rs 29. 79 Cr, Ramji Bera (ward 5); Rs 27.39 Cr
Panvel, now heading to its first ever municipal elections, may not have the richest political history, but it certainly has some filthy rich candidates. More than one-third of the candidates have declared assets running into several crores, led by the richest of them all -- BJP's Paresh Thakur, whose net worth is over Rs. 95.47 crore.
Of the 418 candidates contesting Panvel's maiden civic election this year, as many as 160 are crorepatis. Many of the candidates had humble beginnings, but as the city progressed, so did they and their business ventures in construction, real estate and other sectors.
The richest candidate, by far, is Thakur (38), who is contesting from ward 19. This BJP man is a graduate from Mumbai University and is the son of former politician Ram Seth Thakur, and the brother of sitting BJP MLA Prashant Thakur. He declared property worth R43.48 crore under his name, while his wife Archana too holds property valued at R18.76 crore. Ranked next is Kishore Kashinath Mhatre (41), who is contesting from ward number 12, with declared assets worth of R37.01 crore.
Money power will count considerably, as this is only the first election here, and citizens don't know much about the candidates. Many politicians will use their clout and money to garner recognition among voters. With the Panvel airport soon to be ready, property prices and the local economy is also expected to boom, making the PMC an even more lucrative prospect.
"People should choose their corporators on the basis of the work he has done in the past, and what he is capable of doing in the future. Even if the candidates are crorepatis, we should only elect them if they are good at work. A developing city like Panvel needs many facilities to be built. This is what the funds should be used for instead of filling their own pockets, which is what usually happens," said Shabaz Ali Sayed, a resident of Kamothe.