As state goes to the polls, your city holds the key | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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As state goes to the polls, your city holds the key

Your city could just be the golden ticket every party is scrambling for this election. The Mumbai-Thane belt, which now holds 60 seats, will to a large extent determine who controls Mantralaya, Maharashtra’s power centre and the seat of government.Snapshot: a brief look at the key issues and big battlegrounds in Maharashtra’s five regions

mumbai Updated: Oct 13, 2009 01:21 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh

Your city could just be the golden ticket every party is scrambling for this election.
Snapshot: a brief look at the key issues and big battlegrounds in Maharashtra’s five regions

The Mumbai-Thane belt, which now holds 60 seats, will to a large extent determine who controls Mantralaya, Maharashtra’s power centre and the seat of government.

Before the recent delimitation, when constituency lines were redrawn based on the latest (2001) census, it was rural Maharashtra that called the shots.

This time, the cities have more seats, representing the massive influx of people here from other parts of the state and the country.

This makes them more significant politically than they have been in a long time — since the last delimitation, in fact, which was in the 1970s.

This region elected a mere 47 members to the state Assembly in the last election.

Now, that number is up to 60 — close to 21 per cent of the Legislature’s total strength of 288.

“The added seats in Mumbai and Thane could make this region the kingmaker in this election,” said political analyst B. Venkatesh.

So who will it be? The strong anti-incumbency factor — the Congress-NCP combine has been ruling for 10 years — and a relatively disorganised Opposition has meant a neck-and-neck race between the Congress-NCP and BJP-Shiv Sena.

The saffron combine has had a traditional mass base in the Mumbai-Thane belt over the last three decades. But the two parties have been unable to maintain their hold over voters in past few years.

To make matters worse, they now have to contend with the emergence of Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which is eating into the Marathi vote.