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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Maha polls: Will Sena retain Chembur?

mumbai Updated: Oct 12, 2019 00:05 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai

In a constituency where voters were oscillating between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress for two decades, the Shiv Sena broke the pattern in 2014, with Prakash Phaterpekar winning against two-time Congress MLA Chandrakant Handore by a margin of more than 10,000 votes.

This election, 12 candidates from the Sena, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, Peasants and Workers Party of India and some independents, are in the fray.

While traffic congestion is an issue across the constituency, stuck redevelopment of slums and dilapidated buildings is another problem. Activist Rajkumar Sharma said, “Chembur has become a residential hub over the years. However, the civic infrastructure hasn’t improved. Major issues ranging from lack of open spaces to traffic congestion due to narrow roads have been unsolved for a long time. There needs to be coordination between public representatives to expedite development works.”

Air pollution is a problem not just in Mahul, but entire Chembur. From the Deonar dumping ground to refineries and thermal plant at Mahul to vehicular pollution owing to traffic congestion, Chembur is probably the most polluted suburb of Mumbai. But it is not an election issue for candidates.

Chembur also had a history of various Dalit movements. The constituency was at the forefront during Bhima-Koregaon and the Dalit protests in 2006. The RPI has, however, not fielded a candidate this time. During the 2014 assembly elections, RPI’s Deepak Nikhalje, brother of gangster Chhota Rajan, secured the third spot, getting more than 36,000 votes, which was the closest to Handore’s 37,383 votes. The division of Dalit votes between Handore and Nikhalje gave Phaterpekar a comfortable win. The absence of RPI candidate may, however, help the Congress.

First Published: Oct 12, 2019 00:05 IST

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