Lok Sabha Election

BJP-Sena repeats sweep in city

Mobbed: Supporters greet BJP MP Gopal Shetty, who retained the Mumbai North seat, in Malad (West) on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

There was no hint of anti-incumbency in Mumbai, with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) repeating its 2014 triumph and sweeping all six city seats with massive margins. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena had fielded three candidates each. The Congress, which had fielded five of the six United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidates, emerged the biggest loser.

In a clear mandate to the NDA, all the winning candidates had a margin of over one lakh votes.

Massive margin

Gopal Shetty, sitting MP from Mumbai North, won by a mammoth margin of 4.65 lakh votes, the biggest in the State. He garnered a massive 71.4% of all votes cast and surpassed his winning margin of 4.46 lakh votes in 2014, which was among the highest in the country.

The Congress had fielded actor Urmila Matondkar, who had no prior political experience, from the seat as senior leaders were unwilling to go up against Mr. Shetty, who defeated Sanjay Nirupam in 2014.

Five out of the six candidates of the NDA were sitting MPs, except for the BJP’s Manoj Kotak.

Mr. Kotak won the Mumbai North East seat by over 2.26 lakh votes against Sanjay Dina Patil of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). He was the last of the candidates in the city to be declared by the BJP, and was chosen over sitting BJP MP Kirit Somaiya following a dispute with the Sena.

BJP-Sena repeats sweep in city

Mr. Kotak, a BJP corporator in the Brihanamumbai Municipal Corporation, will join Sena’s Rahul Shewale, a former corporator and sitting MP from Mumbai South Central, in Parliament. Mr. Shewale beat senior Congress leader Eknath Gaikwad by a margin of 1.52 lakh votes to retain his seat.

BJP Mumbai president Ashish Shelar said, “I thank all Mumbaikars for giving us this mandate. It has encouraged and inspired us to continue serving the city for the next five years.”

The BJP and Sena formed an alliance in January after an acrimonious relationship for the last four years. After winning a thumping mandate in the city in 2014, the two parties had split ways and contested the State and civic elections separately.

Infighting in Congress

This time, the organisational might of both parties was pitted against a city Congress unit marred by infighting. Barely a month before the city went to polls, the Congress replaced Mr. Nirupam with Milind Deora as the head of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee.

On Thursday, Mr. Deora lost the Mumbai South seat to sitting Sena MP Arvind Sawant by over one lakh votes, while Mr. Nirupam was trailing by over two lakh votes to Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar in Mumbai North West.

The Congress’s Priya Dutt, who entered the fray at the last minute after being inactive in politics for over four years, lost to sitting BJP MP Poonam Mahajan by 1.3 lakh votes in Mumbai North Central, despite winning more votes than any other Congress candidate in the city.

Reacting to the party’s defeat, Mr. Deora said, “Mumbai Congress accepts the verdict of the people of Mumbai with all humility. The Congress party fielded experienced and popular candidates in five constituencies, each of whom gave a strong and commendable fight to the BJP and Shiv Sena.”

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 4:57:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/bjp-sena-repeats-sweep-in-city/article27228933.ece

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