While the Congress has been campaigning aggressively in Bandra (East) for the by-poll to be held on April 11, the Shiv Sena is keeping it a low-key affair, banking on sympathy to sail through this election.
The Sena has given the ticket to Trupti Sawant, the widow of former MLA Prakash (Bala) Sawant. The Bandra (East) assembly seat fell vacant after Sawant’s demise in January this year.
Congress candidate Narayan Rane can be seen busy campaigning in the constituency and he has visited several areas more than twice over the last few days. Rane is relatively new to voters in the area.
On the other hand, Sawant is appealing to voters to support her, citing the work her late husband did in the area.
Sena leader and MLC Anil Parab, who has been given the responsibility of campaigning, said, “Everyone in the constituency, including Muslims, know what work Bala has done in the area. So, we need not campaign aggressively. On the other hand, Rane is an outsider and does not know anything about the area.”
Using the poor civic facilities in the constituency, especially in slums, as a major tool Rane is wooing voters from slum areas, mostly dominated by Muslims and Dalits.
“Despite being in power for more than two decades, the Sena has failed to provide even basic civic facilities to the people. I have lived in the area before and locals know me well. The failure of the BJP and Sena in fulfilling pre-electoral promises will make people in the area vote for the Congress,” Rane said.
Meanwhile, Parab has alleged that “Rane is contesting from Bandra (East) because of the booming real estate market in the area.”
The constituency is dominated by Maharashtrians and Muslims.
There are roughly 75,000 Muslims and 1,20,000 Maharashtrian voters in the constituency. Dalit voters account for about 30,000 of the total Maharashtrian votes.
While Rane has focused on Muslim and Dalit votes, the Sena is banking on the performance of MIM, which is expected to eat into Muslim votes substantially.