Mumbai candidate count lower than 2009, 2014 Maha electionsUpdated: Oct 10, 2019 00:15 IST
The 2019 state Assembly elections have the lowest number of candidates, including independents, in all 36 seats of Mumbai, in a decade.
In the 2009 elections, a total of 424 candidates contested from Mumbai’s 36 seats, of which 194 were independents. In 2014, there were 517 candidates in the fray, which included 174 independents. However, this time, only 333 candidates are contesting, of which 91 are independents.
According to experts, a major factor behind the decline is the formation of two rival alliances. Unlike 2014, the BJP-Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP are fighting in alliance. The last Assembly elections saw all four parties contesting separately.
Nilu Damle, an independent political analyst, also attributed the drop to the economic slowdown, causing many candidates to resist from splurging money to woo voters. “Those who want to contest, maybe say smaller parties or independent candidates, do not have the money to contest elections. Another factor is that the independent candidates, who are mainly fielded to divide votes, are absent, because non-ruling parties do not have the money to put up independent candidates against ruling parties,” Damle said.
“There were alliances in 2009 also, but we need to understand that contesting elections 10 years ago and now is different as the cost of contesting has gone up drastically. Also, I think there is cynicism in the minds of people. This cynicism is due to the way BJP and Shiv Sena have portrayed themselves since 2014. Their aggressiveness and dominant behaviour gives a feeling to candidates that there is no point contesting,” Surendra Jondhale, another political analyst.
In some of the 36 seats in Mumbai, there are no independents. In seats like Borivli, Kandivli (East), Kurla, Bandra (West), Sion and Sewri, there is not a single candidate contesting as an independent.
Chandivli, Ghatkopar (West), Anushakti Nagar and Worli, where Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray is contesting, has seven independent candidates each.
In terms of break-up between the western and eastern suburbs, 311 candidates contested from the suburbs in 2009 for 26 seats, of which 138 candidates contested as independents. In 2014, 379 candidates contested elections, of which 125 candidates were independents. While in 2019, 244 candidates are in the race for 36 seats, of which only 69 are contesting as independents.
In the island city, a total of 113 candidates contested for 10 seats in 2009, of which 56 candidates were independent candidates. In 2014, 138 candidates contested, of which 49 were independent candidates, followed by a total of 90 candidates being in the race in 2019, including 22 independent candidates.
Currently, in terms of sitting MLAs, there is not a single elected independent candidate, who is a sitting MLA. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 15 seats, Sena has 14, followed by five seats with Congress and one each with Samajwadi Party and All India Majlis-e-lttehadul Muslimeen. Overall, the state of Maharashtra has 288 seats. Voting day is on October 21 and results for the same will be announced on October 24.
Meanwhile, every candidate, as per the rules of the Election Commission, has an expenditure limit of ₹28 lakh, which a candidate can spend from the date of nomination, up to the final day of voting, all considered as official election expenditure.
First Published: Oct 10, 2019 00:15 IST