After introduction of the adult franchise, the second edition of Bombay Parsi Punchayet elections ended peacefully on Sunday. However, number of voters this year was much less as compared to 2008. Around 14,000 people cast their vote during the 2008 elections, while this time the figure stood just over 9,800. Unlike the first election, only five seats went for polling as compared to seven. One seat is under litigation while the other is likely to see elections in another six months. “As per the compilation, over 9,800 people have cast their votes. The elections were conducted without any problem or issues,” said Mahiyar Dastoor, president of the election.
Voters hoped that the new team would work peacefully with prominent issues like transparency, housing and attentiveness to the community needs being paramount on their to do list. A total of 23 candidates stood for the post of five trustees. The elections were held at five centers from 10 am to 7 pm and were done through voting machines. The BPP is an over 300-year old public charitable trust and is one of the largest landlords in Mumbai with 5,500 flats and other immovable properties of approximately 100 acres. It also provides for various schemes for the Parsi Irani Zoroastrians. However, charges of corruption have often mired its functioning.
“I am hoping that the funds are utilized in a more transparent manner. The poor should get benefit of the funds with the Punchayet,” said R A Karanjia, an 82-year-old resident of Wadia Baug in Parel.
First time voters like Monaz Soorty, an Andheri resident, pointed out the irony in some of the stands of the community. She said, “I voted for the first time. I am hopeful that people will do something about the housing issue this time. While on one hand community members do not have space to live, they talk of growing our numbers.”
“I think in the previous board, the problem was more due to ego issues and less due to corruption. People make groups as and when it suits their interest. That should not be the case this time. They should be able to clean the old mess in six months and solve issues of the poor,” said Parvez Damania.