Andheri east bypoll litmus test for Sena factions
Mumbai: The Andheri East bypoll, which is expected to be declared soon, will be the first litmus test for the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena as the BJP, with the help of the Shinde faction of the Sena, is expected to fight the election with full force
Mumbai: The Andheri East bypoll, which is expected to be declared soon, will be the first litmus test for the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena as the BJP, with the help of the Shinde faction of the Sena, is expected to fight the election with full force. Shiv Sena has announced Rutuja Latke as its candidate, whiel BJP is expected to field former corporator Murji Patel. The election has been necessitated because of the demise of sitting Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke in May this year.
The Andheri bypoll will be the first election after the Sena split. Since the poll is expected to take place before the civic polls in the city, it assumes significance as it will give a clear sense of the mood among the people in the backdrop of the changed political equations.
“Though the Shinde faction has been claiming to be the real Sena and has been following Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideology, there is a simmering sympathy for Thackeray because of the ‘betrayal’ by Shinde. The bypoll is expected to be a test for both of them. BJP too will get the opportunity to get the sense of the sentiments among the voters,” said a Sena leader requesting annonymity.
BJP expects traditional Marathi voters and supporters of Shiv Sena to stand by the Shinde faction in the bypoll. Parag Alvani, BJP vice president and Vile Parle MLA, believes that the BJP is in a position of winning the seat. “This would be a test for Sena and Shinde-led Sena and we will get a sense of the sentiments among the people. In 2009, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in its first Assembly election had dented the Sena votes signifiantly. We expect that response for Shinde camp from Marathi voters in this bypoll. Though the final decision has not been taken, Murji Patel is expected to be our candidate. He had polled sizable votes as an independent in the 2019 election and has a very strong standing in the constituency. We have a fair chance of winning despite sympathy wave for the Sena candidate,” he said.
Patel won the BMC elections from a ward in Andheri in 2017 though he could not complete his term due to his disqualification for a fake caste certificate. He contested the 2019 Assembly polls from Andheri East as an independent and polled the second highest votes.