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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Maharashtra polls: 2 Sena leaders in two-way fight in Vikhroli, Bhandup

cities Updated: Oct 17, 2019 00:51 IST

The two Shiv Sena candidates — Sunil Raut and Ramesh Korgaonkar — fighting from Vikhroli and Bhandup West constituencies respectively, are in for two-way fights in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections.

While Raut faces a challenge from the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (which has fielded Siddharth Mokle, 35) making inroads into Dalit pockets like Kannamwar Nagar in Vikhroli, in Bhandup, Sena’s new candidate and corporator Korgaonkar is up against Congress’s Suresh Koparkar, an ex-corporator from the constituency. Koparkar had contested as an independent in the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections.

Shiv Sena’s sitting MLA from Bhandup, Ashok Patil, was dropped this time to make way for Korgaonkar, a four-time corporator from the constituency. Korgaonkar has also been the vibhag pramukh in Bhandup, and is a former standing committee chairman of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Koparkar, on the other hand, is also a former corporator with a good influence in some pockets of the slums in the constituency.

Contesting Assembly elections for the first time, Korgaonkar said he wants to solve the issues of slum rehabilitation in Bhandup. “People wanted me to contest this time as I did not get a chance in 2014. I want to make Bhandup a beautiful suburb and solve all issues related to slum rehabilitation and traffic congestion,” Korgaonkar said.

The Sena has benefitted from the recent entry of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sanjay Patil in its fold. He is a former MLA from Bhandup and a former MP from Mumbai North East. Though he lost the recent Lok Sabha elections, Sanjay Patil enjoys clout in Bhandup.

However, Nilesh Patil, a social activist from Bhandup, said, “The Congress has managed to retain its influence in some pockets of the area.”

Ketan Shah, general secretary of the North East district, Congress, said the party stands a good chance in Bhandup. “Koparkar’s own charisma and party’s goodwill can make a difference,” Shah said.

Meanwhile, Raut said Vikhroli’s development had come to a standstill till he took charge five years ago.

“I had to do the work that was lagging for 15 years, and I have been successful in doing that. Last election, I also told people in my constituency that I will not need to campaign for the next election because I would have done that kind of work,” said Raut, the younger brother of Sena MP Sanjay Raut.

“In Vikhroli, parts of Ramabai Nagar, Tagor Nagar and Kannamwar Nagar can make a dent for the Sena,” said Nilesh Patil. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) also fielded former corporator Dhananjay Pisal in Vikhroli Assembly constituency.

Both Vikhroli and Bhandup constituencies are dotted with slums of Surya Nagar, Parksite in Vikhroli and Tembhipada, Battipada and Gaondevi in Bhandup West.

Along with slum rehabilitation, road-widening, traffic congestion and curbing unplanned development are major areas of concern.