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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Maha polls: Dahisar, a saffron bastion for four decades

mumbai Updated: Oct 10, 2019 00:20 IST
Mehul R Thakkar
Mehul R Thakkar
Hindustantimes
         

With the saffron alliance for almost four decades, Dahisar constituency is set for a triangular fight in the Assembly polls.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has renominated its 58-year-old sitting MLA Manisha Chaudhary, the Congress has fielded 54-year-old Arun Sawant, who is also the spokesperson of the party and a former LIC employee. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has fielded Rajesh Yerunkar, 46, a banker.

THE CONSTITUENCY

The constituency has stayed with the Sena or BJP since 1978, when Dahisar, earlier a part of Borivali constituency, elected Ram Naik, former governor of Uttar Pradesh, as its MLA.

In 2009, when Dahisar was carved out of Borivali as a separate constituency, the seat was won by Sena’s Vinod Ghosalkar. He lost to BJP’s Manisha Chaudhary in 2014, when the saffron partners contested

separately.

While Chaudhary managed to get more than 77,000 votes, Ghosalkar got more than 38,000 votes.

The major problems in the region are increasing traffic owing to redevelopment of old buildings, depleting mangrove cover and illegal and haphazard construction.

One of the biggest slum clusters in the western suburbs, Ganpat Patil Nagar, is part of the constituency. The 15,000 slum dwellers claim they don’t have basic facilities such as electricity or water connection. “Angry at the neglect, the locals of Ganpat Patil Nagar had pressed NOTA in the Lok Sabha elections,” said Ram Yadav, a local activist.

The area also needs CCTV cameras, wider roads and action against illegal encroachment.

Harish Pandey of New Link Residents’ Forum said, “Dahisar will be one of the biggest Metro hubs in future, as three Metro lines will merge here. The state needs to do urban planning anticipating future growth, along with transport connectivity.”

Another issue is the beautification of Dahisar River. “The civic body built a retaining wall along the river after the 2005 deluge. Several promises have been made, but their implementation is stuck owing to the challenges,” said Sheetal Mhatre, who contested from the Congress seat in 2014 and is a former corporator from the area.

THE CONTESTANTS

Yerunkar, a resident of the area for decades, said, “The traffic at Dahisar toll naka affects vehicle movement on the internal roads of Dahisar and Western Express Highway. The toll naka should be pushed towards Mira Road. Another issue is safety of women, for which we need to install CCTV cameras.”

Congress candidate Arun Sawant was not available for a comment.

Sitting MLA Chaudhary said, “All issues including that of Ganpati Patil Nagar slums, beautification of Dahisar River and widening of roads have been looked into. I have been accessible to the public and I am confident of winning.”

First Published: Oct 10, 2019 00:20 IST

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