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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Maha polls: Worli, where Aaditya Thackeray will take on NCP’s Mane

mumbai Updated: Oct 10, 2019 00:18 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Eeshanpriya M S

The Worli Assembly constituency, one of the 10 constituencies in the island city, is in focus this election, with Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, 29, making his political debut from here. This is the first time a member of the Thackeray family is contesting the elections.

His opponent is Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Suresh Mane, 59, a Dalit leader with a political career spanning three decades. Mane’s nomination from the NCP came amid reports that the Sena had requested the party not to field a candidate from Worli, as it hopes to secure the seat for Thackeray with a margin of over one lakh votes.

The Worli constituency includes areas of Worli Koliwada, Adarsh Nagar, Worli Naka, Mahalaxmi, and Lower Parel. The Shiv Sena chose this constituency, as it is considered a ‘safe seat’ and the Sena’s turf. Worli has elected Shiv Sena MLAs over five terms, from 1990 to 2009. In 2009, NCP’s Sachin Ahir won the seat by a margin of 5,294 votes against Sena’s Ashish Chemburkar. However, he was unseated in the 2014 Assembly elections by Sena’s Sunil Shinde, who is the current MLA from Worli. Shinde won in 2014, with a margin of 23,021 votes against Ahir. Ahir joined the Sena in July.

The Worli Assembly constituency falls in the Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency, which is currently represented by Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant, who is the Union minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. Five-and-a half civic constituencies that fall under this Assembly constituency elected Shiv Sena corporators in the 2017 civic elections, including the deputy mayor of Mumbai, Hemangi Worlikar.

Thackeray’s contender Mane said, “It is wrong to perceive Worli as a secure seat for the Sena. Other parties and candidates also have a good chance of winning.” Mane is a senior lawyer and founding president of the Bahujan Republican Socialist Party (BRSP).

Another reason why the seat became the Sena’s choice is that Worli consists of a large number of Maharashtrian voters, who are traditionally Sena supporters living in the Bombay Development Department (BDD) buildings of Worli and Adarsh Nagar. It also consists of one of the largest fishermen villages of Mumbai – Worli Koliwada. The area has a sizable population from the Dalit community living in BDD buildings.

Sunil Shinde said, “All votes that Mane is riding on, from the Dalit or Muslim community from the area, are Sena supporters. I bagged over 60,000 votes in Worli in 2014.”

The area is plagued with problems such as long-pending redevelopment of BDD chawls at the hands of Mhada. Mahesh Jadhav, 35, a tenant of Worli’s BDD building, said, “The government does not need consent from us to redevelop the building as we are tenants. They will simply shift us to transit camps far away from the island city such as Mahul, or Powai. The government is under no obligation to give us homes in Worli, unless there is a redevelopment agreement.”

Moreover, the fishermen from this area are upset with the Shiv Sena due to the coastal road project. It will be constructed by the Sena-led civic body by reclaiming the sea.

However, Aaditya Thackeray told Hindustan Times on Saturday last week, “Whenever we have an infrastructure project, we have dialogue with the community it can affect. This has always been Sena’s way. Dialogue always solves issues. I went door-to-door in Koliwada last week, and got tremendous response from residents.”

Vijay Patil, an activist and a resident of Worli, said, “It is not a question of political inclination. It is more important that our issues are unresolved.”

First Published: Oct 10, 2019 00:18 IST

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