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2019 Lok Sabha elections: Nirupam takes on Kirtikar in Mumbai North West

The constituency’s map changed after delimitation, until which it was a bastion of the Congress, with the late Sunil Dutt representing it.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 25, 2019 00:07 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai
Sanjay Nirupam at a rally in Andheri .(Pramod Thakur/HT Photo)

It is a constituency that demographically favours both rival alliances of the BJP-Sena and the Congress-NCP. So will Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar win with support from the BJP or will Congress’s Sanjay Nirupam beat the infighting within the party to wrest the seat from the Shiv Sena? The presence of a third candidate, Samajwadi Party’s Subhash Pasi, could also play a role in the contest here.

The constituency’s map changed after delimitation, until which it was a bastion of the Congress, with the late Sunil Dutt representing it. After delimitation, a part of the constituency was included in Mumbai North Central. In the 2009 elections, Congress’s Gurudas Kamat won, but in the last election, he lost to Kirtikar by a margin of nearly two lakh votes. While the Sena-BJP has its stronghold in several Marathi-dominated areas, the Congress is trying to woo Marathi and North Indian communities that comprise 35 and 21 per cent of the constituency, respectively.

The constituency is home to the entertainment industry and has plush residences, with an equal space for slum pockets. A four-time MLA from Malad, Kirtikar is seeking to repeat his 2014 victory. During 2014 elections, Nirupam who had contested from the Mumbai North constituency lost to BJP MP Gopal Shetty by a margin of nearly four lakh votes. With such a bad hit, Nirupam decided to contest from North West this time. He has been pointing out that his original area of work was Mumbai North West, but he had contested from Mumbai North as the party asked him to. With the demise of Kamat, Nirupam has managed to get candidature from this constituency.

Residents of North West have had some complaints about Kirtikar being unapproachable. Andheri resident Parth Rathod said, “He has not visited our vicinity after being elected to power. During the previous elections, he had made tall claims of constructing better roads and reducing traffic congestion. But nothing has been done.”

Kirtikar has denied such claims. “There has not been a single person whose grievance has not been addressed by me or my staff. People need to reach out to me if they have any issue.”

Known to have won amid the Modi wave, Kirtikar will have to prove his worth this time to the voters, as Modi wave is not the only factor in these elections. The Shiv Sena has a strong network of party workers and is also banking on traditional stronghold.

The alliance with the BJP will further strengthen his chances. Nirupam on the other hand, is trying to take advantage of anti-BJP votes. He is banking on the changing scenario and the traditional North Indian and minority voters. However, Pasi, a two-time MLA from Uttar Pradesh’s Saidpur, could queer the pitch for him.

Pasi is also getting tacit support from some disgruntled Congress leaders, who are against Nirupam.

Even though the MNS has announced that it will not contest and urged voters to vote against the Sena-BJP alliance, it is not sure if Marathi voters will support Nirupam. In fact, because of his public spat with MNS chief Raj Thackeray, the MNS is unlikely to support Nirupam.

First Published: Apr 25, 2019 00:06 IST

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