Even though the Bharatiya Janata Party is claiming that senior corporator Pravin Chedda’s move to the Congress will not hurt the party in the upcoming polls, many BJP insiders feel that such a move might help the Congress gain a foothold in the Gujarati-dominated Ghatkopar (East) constituency.
This could be a big dent to the party, which has enjoyed a stronghold over the constituency for more than two decades now, leaving virtually no room for Congress presence in the area.
In 2009, post-delimitation, the constituency was split into two: Ghatkopar (East) and (West). While the Congress has presence in the West, its attempt to counter Prakash Mehta, the BJP strongman in the East and a known Chedda rival, have been futile.
However, with Chedda – a Gujarati Jain – switching to the Congress, insiders say that the saffron party’s dominance over the area may not remain indisuptable. Chedda also has considerable clout in the Jain community, which the Congress would look to benefit from.
In what could be another advantage to the Congress, local leaders say that Chedda, being a businessman himself, also wields influence in the traders community, which have a significant presence in areas such as Ghatkopar, Vile Parle, Borivli and some parts of the Island city.