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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Shiv Sena’s tough battle in Mankhurd and Anushakti Nagar

mumbai Updated: Oct 19, 2019 00:57 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai

One of the city’s biggest slum belts between Chembur and Mankhurd houses two constituencies – Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar and Anukshakti Nagar.

In Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar, Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi is seeking a third term opposite Sena’s Vithal Lokare, a corporator who shifted loyalty from the Congress.

In Anushakti Nagar, Sena MLA Tukaram Kate will try to retain his seat against NCP city unit chief Nawab Malik.

The Shiv Sena is likely to face a tough fight in both the constituencies. While 14 candidates are in the fray in Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar, 17 are contesting in Anushakti Nagar.

Lokare had recently quit the Congress to join the Sena, which he had left in 2005, along with Narayan Rane.

He is a three-term corporator from Mankhurd and is known to have a following among the Marathi population.

However, the Assembly constituency is largely minority-dominated area. Azmi has a stronghold in the constituency and a following among its local populace.

While there is unrest among the citizens of Mankhurd over pathetic civic facilities, political analysts say it is unlikely that they will support a saffron party. Azmi said, “I have been getting positive feedback to my work.”

Anushakti Nagar segment covers minority-dominated Cheetah camp and slum-dominated Mankhurd. A Congress bastion for years, the Sena got its MLA here for the first time in 2014, thanks to the Marathi population.

Political analysts state that as the Congress and NCP individually contested the elections, the Sena gained from it and won this seat. In 2014, the constituency saw a close fight between Kate who won over Malik by merely 1,000 votes.

Hemant Desai, political analyst, said, “During the last Assembly elections, another major factor that benefited the Shiv Sena was social activist Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement defaming the Congress. Further, the Congress voters got divided between them and the NCP. As the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will individually contest the elections, it will be another close fight for them with the Sena.”

From the long-pending demand of closing down the Deonar dumping ground in Mankhurd to redevelopment of several slum pockets in Anushakti Nagar assembly, both assemblies have its equal share of unsolved issues.

A major issue here is the redevelopment and rehabilitation of slum areas.

Malik told HT, “These pockets have been neglected in the past five years.”

Another major issue is the impact of Mumbai Trans-Harbor Link project on Trombay residents.

Kate said, “I am closely working with this community to ensure that their business is not affected and justice is done to all fisherfolk.”