Drama played out at Lower Parel on Wednesday, when the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena faced off while filing nominations for the Sewri Assembly constituency.
The Sewri seat, earlier called Parel, was a Shiv Sena stronghold — until the recent Lok Sabha elections, when the MNS stole the lead over the Sena.
The two candidates — Dagdu Sakpal (Sena) and Bala Nandgaonkar (MNS), both former legislators — flanked by hundreds of supporters, converged at the Delisle Road municipal school, paralysing traffic. Both groups shouted slogans in favour of their candidates and parties.
Sakpal, a two-time legislator, exuded confidence. “Voters have seen through the game played by Raj Thackeray, who misled them by invoking Marathi pride. Now they’ve realised their mistake and will not vote for him,” said Sakpal, adding that he has done commendable work in the area in the last decade.
Currently, the Maharashtrian-majority constituency has about 2.67 lakh voters. In the Lok Sabha election, the MNS led here, with 48,738 votes, followed by the Sena (37,454) and the Congress (27,235).
The MNS debunked the Sena claim about misleading people as a pack of lies. “Maharashtrians are not naïve enough to be misled. In the last two years, they’ve seen our commitment to their cause,” said Nandgaonkar. “People are now tired of the Sena, they want change,” he added.
This constituency has special value for both the Sena and the MNS. It was in 1971 that the Sena made its debut in the state Assembly with Vamanrao Mahadik. For the MNS, this is the only constituency in the island city where it led in the Lok Sabha polls.