05 March, 2021

Fire Dwellers

High stakes at an ill-tempered Parsi election

Fire Dwellers

Universal adult franchise may seem a grand term to attach to 8,000 voters. But apply this figure to the diminutive Parsi community, and it looks significant. Over the past two weeks, Parsis have been coming out to elect a new member to one of their richest charitable trusts, the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP). Election expenses are not to be winked at, with about Rs 25 lakh of trust money being spent on things like rain shelters for voters. Candidates are spending greater amounts to court voters with dhansak dinners and full-page newspaper ads.

“They are spending a lot, holding a lot of meetings, giving dinner boxes, even having sit-down dinners. They’re pulling out all the stops,” says Jehangir Patel, editor of Parsiana. Adds BPP chairman Dinshaw Mehta: “We tried to avoid these elections, but politics and party power prevailed. Now we are down to mud-slinging and maligning.” That is because of what is at stake. The BPP is one of the biggest landlords in Mumbai, with nearly 5,000 flats to its name. In...

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