The Parsi Zorastrian community, especially those in Mumbai and living in BPP baugs and colonies are going through a dark phase under the current BPP board mainly due to the high-handed attitude and nepotism of two trustees who have adopted a could-not-care attitude towards those very people before whom they came begging for votes only a few years back. It is indeed shameful that while seeking to get elected they resorted to all sorts of promises and assured accountability and transparency in their functioning but failed to honor their own word given voluntarily! What better can be expected from such men?
To further boost their agenda, Yazdi and Kersi, between them had apparently planned well in advance to support the wife of the Chairman to contest the vacancy arising after Mr. Cama’s term ended. While one can guess why Yazdi desired to get his wife on board, one fails to understand why my activist friend Kersi, who in 2011 vehemently opposed Anahita’s candidature arguing against a husband wife combination on the board, is now actively supporting her. He had then in the fight against Anahita in 2011 , started the Parsi TImes, even joined hands with arch enemy Dinshaw Mehta and they ultimately jointly supported Munchi Cama, who won comfortably. What made him change his mind in 2018? In hindsight it appears these two had deliberately stalled a decision from the Charity Commissioner as they feared Cama rejoining the BPP may create problems for their bulldozing tactics and were hopeful of paving the way for Anahita’s smooth entry in the board.
But alas that was not to happen and the community gave its verdict against Anahita. The husband/wife duo were frustrated for a second time. But for this duo of husband-wife and for Kersi, who believes in ‘my way or the highway’, in their typical fashion have refused to accept the community’s verdict and are now attempting to get her in by any means. Anahita at the last moment and as a last resort is making unproven and unsubstantiated accusations against Xerxes Dastur of indulging in unfair electoral practices and violating the voluntary code of conduct ! In fact in 2011, it was Anahita who had produced a fake letter of support from late Dr. Mehroo Bengalee, a colleague trustee at Wapiz, who had denied in the “Jame” issuing such a letter. Does it not amount to “The pot calling the kettle black”?
Before this election at least a few in the community believed Anahita to be a better social worker, but alas now with her greed for power and a seat on the board, she has demonstrated that she is no different. Just look who is talking of corrupt practice and violation of code of conduct? How can she even think of making such an accusation when she and her supporters have themselves come with unclean hands? To illustrate:
- Without any monetary benefit to the BPPthe two trustees supporting Anahita brazenly promised just before elections to gift away two large BPP properties worth several crores to the Wadia Baug and Aderbad societies in return for their vote for Anahita. This amounts to enticing and offering a bribe to a large number of voters? This was evident from the turnout and the lead that Anahita got at Rustom Baug where the Parel residents of Wadia baug vote.
- Getting The Young Rathestars to summon their beneficiaries to come on election day with their BPP voter ID certificates to their premises, which was closer to the changed polling centre, under the pretext of finalising their rations for the new year, with the implied motive to direct them to vote for Anahita. It was the vigilance of the other candidates and the graciousness of Justice Kathawala, who heard the matter at short notice and passed suitable orders. It was Kersi Randeria, though not an office bearer of Young Rathestars who appeared before Justice Kathawala on behalf of his friend Arnawaz Mistry, the trustee of the Rathestars, who was away in Khandala. By implication can this mean that it was Kersi who had organised the whole event?
- Getting others to organise transport for voters from out of town.
- Getting the administration which is subservient to the Chairman and his cronie lieutenant to change at the last minute the venues for elections to deter Xerxes’s voters from coming out in large numbers hoping that would help Anahita to gain a lead.
- Despite the Chairman claiming that he would recuse himself from the election, Yazdi campaigned actively in almost every colony and baug thereby sending a message to the residents to fall in line and vote for her.
- The Parsi print media under the control of Kersi, while giving gratis space to Anahita and her supporters, grudgingly accepted paid advertisements in support of Xerxes.
- Some poor beneficiaries of ZTFI, where Kersi and Yasmin, d/o Arnavaz are trustees, were introduced to Anahita and told to vote for her during the course of food grain distribution, even though Anahita had then not declared her candidature publicly.
I can go on but suffice for the time being. Do all the above facts not amount to corrupt practices and gross violations of the code of conduct?