BMC polls: Focus on Marathi votes pays off in Mumbai’s Parel-Lalbaug belt | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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BMC polls: Focus on Marathi votes pays off in Mumbai’s Parel-Lalbaug belt

In the Parel-Lalbaug-Dadar belt, there was brisk voting since morning. This belt saw two former mayors contesting the elections.

mumbai Updated: Feb 22, 2017 10:32 IST
Despite confusion of missing names and shift in polling centres, Marathi-speaking voters seemed to be making it a point to participate.
Despite confusion of missing names and shift in polling centres, Marathi-speaking voters seemed to be making it a point to participate. (Pratham Gokhale/HT PHOTO)

A battle between the Shiv Sena, BJP and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), all vying for the Maharashtrian vote, led to tremendous enthusiasm among voters in Mumbai’s Marathi heartland.

In the Parel-Lalbaug-Dadar belt, there was brisk voting since morning. This belt saw two former mayors contesting the elections. In Dadar’s ward 191, MNS’ Swapna Deshpande was seen criss-crossing the constituency on a two-wheeler urging people to vote. Her opponent, former mayor Vishakha Raut, monitored the whole thing through a network of Shakhas, or Sena offices. Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, with wife Rashmi and son Aaditya was seen visiting all spots to boost workers. Fighting an election that could impact the party’s existence in Mumbai, the Sena leadership took a lot of effort to ensure the party’s voter base is not dented by BJP. The BJP too made efforts to make inroads in the area. The MNS, which posed a challenge to Sena in this belt, however, seemed to be focusing on its core support areas such as Dadar. The voters too showed lot of enthusiasm. Take the case of 61-year old Ashok Chavan, who could barely walk and had to take the help of his son to reach his polling station in Parel. “I have never defaulted on voting as this gives me a chance to elect my representative.” Despite confusion of missing names and shift in polling centres, Marathi-speaking voters seemed to be making it a point to participate. Rekha Sakpal, who shifted to Diva after marriage, came back to her parents’ Lalbaug home just to cast her vote. “We share a very strong bond with Sena as it always stands for the Marathi Manoos. The party needs us and hence I came just to vote,” said Sakpal.

However, first-time voters were quite fascinated with the BJP. Harsh Wagh, an engineering student,said PM Modi appealed to the youth. “See the state of roads and civic amenities. and this clearly indicates the Sena has not worked at all. The Congress has a bad record and I feel we should give BJP a chance,” said Wagh.

Mayor Shraddha Jadhav, facing a formidable rebel and as strong Congress candidate said, “Our workers brought people to booths.” Arun Dalvi, BJP’s candidate, said high turnout indicates anger against the Sena.