As polling day nears in Bandra (East), both the Congress and Shiv Sena were seen campaigning aggressively on the last day on Thursday, as uneasiness grew among the two parties that are still struggling to gauge the mood of the voters.
The by-polls will be held on April 11.
While the Sena’s Trupti Sawant, the widow of former MLA Bala Sawant, (whose death necessitated the by-polls) is banking on sympathy votes from Maharashtrian voters, the Congress’ Narayan Rane has focused his attention on voters from the Konkan region, as well as the Muslims.
While the Sena could be hurt by a low turn-out of Maharashtrian voters, Rane fears the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) candidate Rahbar Khan could eat into Muslim votes in the constituency.
Sources said Rane is upset with city Congress leaders for not campaigning for him actively, as a defeat in these polls could shelve his political career forever.
A major part of Rane’s force was made up of workers from Swabhiman Sanghtana, an outfit launched by his son Nitesh.
Throughout the campaigning, the Sena has tried to woo the 1,20,000 Maharashtrian voters. As their candidate is not a known face, the party has tried to make up for it through its door-to-door campaigns and gatherings in various parts of the constituency.
The MIM, too, has asserted itself, claiming that its candidate can win the seat if Sena does not get enough Maharashtrian votes.
MIM party workers are working hard to convince voters. Victory can boost the MIM in the upcoming civic election at Aurangabad, where the party enjoys good support.