Mumbai: A majority of the corporators of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seem to defy the usual trend by miles when it comes to annual increment at work. For the salaried class, it ranges from 10-30 percent while an industrious individual owning a business may up his earnings by 20-40 percent.
However, properties of most of the elected representatives in the country's richest civic body in Mumbai have either burgeoned from twice the size it was five years ago or grown by a whopping 600 percent during this period.
Notably, the members of the all-party standing committee have got their property doubled in the five years. This committee, which has a huge budgetary allocation of Rs 20,000 crore out of the total Rs 34,000 crore that the corporation annually have in its kitty, has the responsibility of approving tenders.
In the last two decades, Shiv Sena and BJP combine have ruled the BMC with the Shiv Sena being the lead party in the standing committee. In the current standing committee, there are 26 members with maximum members from Shiv Sena. Of late, since the BJP and Shiv Sena parted ways the former has upped the ante alleging numerous corruptions by the Shiv Sena.
Talking to Firstpost municipal secretary Narayan Pathade said, "Every month each corporator gets a monthly remuneration of Rs 10,000. Also, he or she gets an allowance of Rs 150 for the corporation meeting. There are four to five such meetings in a month. In the last two years, we have provided every corporator with a laptop and mobile phone. A monthly allowance of Rs 1,250 is also reimbursed in case of each corporator."
Since 2012, many standing committee members have seen manifold jumps in their property as declared in their affidavits. Former Shiv Sena mayor Shraddha Jadhav's affidavit showed that her asset was worth Rs 1 crore in 2012 but it jumped to Rs 15 crore 93 lakh in 2017. She is contesting from ward number 202 as a Shiv Sena candidate. Samajwadi Party group leader in the BMC Rai Shaikh's property saw a jump from Rs 27 lakh in 2012 to Rs 2 crore 10 lakh in 2017.
The BJP face in the BMC, Manoj Kotak also saw his wealth growing from Rs 2 crore 64 lakh in 2012 to Rs 4 crore 97 lakh in 2017.
Shiv Sena group leader Trishna Vishwasrao property jumped by a huge 600 percent. In 2012, Vishwasrao's property was Rs 1 crore 2 lakh but in 2017 her property jumped to Rs 6 crore 63 lakh. Similarly Congress group leader, who is also standing committee member, Pravin Cheda is also not behind when it comes to property. The property worth Rs 8 crore 60 lakh in 2012 became Rs 14 crore 4 lakh in 2017.
The current standing committee chairman Shailesh Phanse's jumped from Rs 4 crore 45 lakh in 2012 to Rs 8 crore 50 lakh in 2017.
BJP’s Parag Shah, who is a real estate developer and contesting first time election in ward no 132 Ghatkopar. is the richest candidate in this round of BMC poll. Shah is the managing director of MAN Infra Construction. His net worth is Rs 690 crore as per his election affidavit. He will be contesting elections against Pravin Chheda (Congress), Sudhakar Patil (Shiv Sena), Jyoti Vaikar (Samajwadi Party) and Bobi Ramanand Chandeliya (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena).
The election affidavit revealed that he owns five houses in Ghatkopar. Shah has declared his movable assets worth Rs 670.57 crore and immovable assets worth Rs 19.38 crore. Assets worth Rs 160.92 crore are owned by his wife Mansi. Shah is the president of the Mumbai Jain Mahasangh.
Talking to the media, Shah claimed that he is not surprised at being the richest candidate in the BMC election as his wealth is the reward of two decades of hard work.
A total of 2,276 candidates are in the fray for the 227 seats of BMC which goes to the polls on 21 February. There are 91.80 lakh registered voters in Mumbai. The counting of votes is on 23 February.