Sometimes, it pays to be single. This seems to be the message Arun Gawli's Akhil Bharatiya Sena has given through its performance during the past two years and ahead of the 13th Assembly election in Maharashtra.
The gangster-turned-politician's party has not only utilised 100 per cent of the MLA's fund for local area development, but is also the only party to do so.
Praja.org, an NGO, has analysed the work of members of the Legislative Assembly representing the Greater Mumbai area. In its 'white paper' on the performance of Mumbai MLAs, Gawli's record is impressive despite the fact that he had to spent a lot of time looking at the world from behind bars (and not of the alcoholic variety either) during the past five years. Gawli was elected from Chinchpokali seat of central Mumbai.
The amount of one year's MLA local area development fund is Rs 1 crore, and the amount can be carried forward to the next year.
But other party MLAs, too, have done fairly well in spending their funds ahead of the October 13 Assembly elections. The Congress shows it has just 5.7 per cent of the fund left unutilised, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP - 4.6 per cent), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP - 7.6) and the Shiv Sena (3.3 per cent) unutilised fund. In real terms, Congress MLAs failed to spend Rs 477.07 crore, while the BJP's 126.34 crore, NCP (Rs 168.04 crore) and Sena (Rs 162.68 crore) remains unspent.
Releasing the report card on Thursday, Nitai Mehta, managing trustee of Praja.org, said: "We want to show the voters how their elected representatives worked. However, we are not giving any marks or ranking for the performance. Let people decide that."
The Congress MLAs have together spent 21.6 per cent of their fund on community development activities like making gymnasiums, community halls, library, anganwadi/crèches. But BJP, Shiv Sena and NCP MLAs chose to spend more money for repair and reconstruction of buildings. The BJP members spent 26.8 per cent of their fund on buildings, while NCP MLAs spent 36 per cent and Shiv Sena's members spent 30.87 per cent money of the total fund on this account.
Gawli, meanwhile, has spent his entire fund (Rs 2.70 crore) only on buildings.