Will the multi-cornered fight make Subhash Desai, the low-profile Shiv Sena strategist, lose control over his Goregaon constituency? Going by overall mood of voters and calculations, it won’t be difficult for Desai to win, say Sena workers.
Representing the area since 1990 (barring 1995 elections when Sena fielded Nandkumar Kale) Desai enjoys good support from almost all communities, especially Maharashtrians and Gujaratis.
Goregaon has a mixed population, mainly comprising middle and upper-middle class.
“People here are likely to vote for Desai, as he is a familiar candidate and has worked for the constituency,” said Pandurang Sankpal, a Goregaon resident.
However, the Sena leader has little support from slum pockets because of his opposition to their redevelopment.
There are 35% Maharashtrian, 24% of north Indians and 16% Gujarati voters in the constituency, who are likely to influence the voting outcome. While Muslims account for 13% of voters.
MNS candidate and union leader Sharad Sawant and BJP candidate Vidya Thakur may, however, eat into Desai’s traditional vote base.
Also, it could spell trouble if Congress candidate Ganesh Kamble manages to garner votes from slum pockets and the Muslim population.
“We know Desai is famous. However, we are focusing on the important issues he has failed to address properly,” said Kamble.
Political analysts further warned that Desai could be in trouble if voters choose to vote on the basis of cast and community.
“After the alliances in the state snapped, voters seem to be divided on the basis of language and community. Linguistic and community-based voting can sound alarm bells for many established politicians,” said Surendra Jondhale, a political analyst.
Prakash Akolkar, political editor of Sakaal newspaper, who has chronicled the history of Sena in his book Jai Maharashtra, said Desai is known for his management and organisational skills.
“Although he has always stayed away from the media, he is good at management, which can help him get re-elected,” said Akolkar.