The by-elections for the Bandra (East) constituency is poised to be an interesting showdown. Congress candidate Narayan Rane’s problems
have compounded with the entry of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in the fray, even while he is seeking the support of
the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
The AIMIM enjoys considerable support among the Muslims and may pose to be a headache for Narayan, as its candidate, Rehbar Khan, who
got 23,927 votes last time, is a well-known face here.
This prompted Nitesh Rane, legislator son of Narayan, to mock the AIMIM, saying its presence was just to help the Sena. Nitesh tweeted:
“MIM has once again proved that it’s BJP n Sena’s S B team!! Helping them to divide secular votes..Muslim Community is smart enuf! Wait n Watch!”
Narayan is looking towards this seat to resurrect his political future, which has been on the downslide ever since his defeat in home turf Kudal, to a relatively new Sena candidate Vaibhav Naik.
Nitesh also met MNS chief Raj Thackeray for his support. The MNS, with a considerable presence, has indicated its unwillingness to contest and is likely to side with Narayan, albeit indirectly. The NCP has already announced its support.
The death of Sena legislator Bala Sawant, a die-hard Sena worker, resulted in the by-election. The party decided to play the sympathy card and give the ticket to his wife Trupti. The Sena also displayed a show of strength by staging a massive rally as Trupti marched to file her nomination on Monday. For Sena, it is important to regain the seat to put pressure on the BJP-led government. The constituency also houses Matoshree, residence of Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, a bête noire of Rane.