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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Cong’s star candidates lose big, saffron alliance sweeps Mumbai

The BJP and Sena contested three seats each in Mumbai while the Congress fought from five and its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), contested one.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 24, 2019 08:21 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Shiv Sena workers outside Sena Bhavan in Mumbai.
Shiv Sena workers outside Sena Bhavan in Mumbai. (Pratik Chorge/HT )

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena alliance won all six seats in Mumbai, a victory that experts said was fuelled both by infrastructure projects taken up by the ruling alliance, as well as a weak Congress campaign that did not address issues that affect Mumbaiites.

The BJP and Sena contested three seats each in Mumbai while the Congress fought from five and its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), contested one. Mumbai has six of Maharashtra’s 48 seats. The BJP and Sena’s alliance, firmed up just before the elections, helped the parties repeat their 2014 performance.

Elections in the financial capital are keenly watched, primarily because parties filed high-profile candidates. While Mumbai is traditionally known for poor political participation and low voter turnouts, this time 55.11% voters cast their vote — better than even 2014, at the height of the Modi wave.

From the saffron alliance, sitting MPs Gopal Shetty, Poonam Mahajan, Arvind Sawant, Rahul Shewale and Gajanan Kirtikar retained their seats. BJP’s debutant candidate, Manoj Kotak, trumped NCP’s former MP, Sanjay Dina Patil, in the Mumbai North East constituency.

Shetty increased his winning margin this year in a contest with actor and debutant Congress candidate Urmila Matondkar in the Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency. Matondkar’s polled 235,000 votes, but Shetty, a BJP heavyweight candidate, won by a margin of 453,000.

In the Mumbai North East seat, Kotak won by a margin of 226,000 votes — the city’s second largest win after Shetty .

Milind Deora, who was appointed Mumbai Congress chief just before the Lok Sabha elections, put up a strong fight against Sena’s sitting MP, Arvind Sawant. Despite this — and an endorsement by Reliance Industries owner Mukesh Ambani — Deora did not win the Mumbai South seat. Sawant got 419,000 votes; Deora managed 318,000 lakh votes.

In Mumbai North Central, BJP youth wing’s national president Poonam Mahajan defeated high-profile Congress candidate Priya Dutt. Mahajan got 462,000 votes against Dutt’s 354,000.

Sanjay Nirupam, who stepped down as the Congress’s city unit chief before the polls, lost to Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar in Mumbai North West, by a margin of 239,000 votes.

Sena MP Rahul Shewale retained the Mumbai South Central, beating Congress’s Eknath Gaikwad by a 150,000 lakh votes.

Voters may have decided to bring back the BJP-Sena for the number of development and infrastructure they have taken up in Mumbai, said analysts.

“The current government is definitely working at a faster pace to complete projects than the previous Congress regime. The previous government took over five years to construct one short metro line, and now, people are seeing how fast construction of two metro lines has happened. These mass transport projects are vote catchers,” said AV Shenoy, a Mumbai-based transport expert.

The state government is currently working on a massive Metro rail network, a coastal road and a trans-harbour link among other projects.

First Published: May 24, 2019 00:30 IST

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