Four ‘old’ warhorses are first-time Lok Sabha members from Maharashtra

Piyush Goyal, Anil Desai, Shahu Chhatrapati and Kirsan Namdeo won their first Lok Sabha elections this year. While three are senior citizens, Mr. Goyal will turn 60 on June 13

Updated - June 08, 2024 08:29 am IST

Published - June 08, 2024 03:21 am IST - Mumbai

 BJP leader Piyush Goyal, a former Union Minister, will be 60 on June 13.

 BJP leader Piyush Goyal, a former Union Minister, will be 60 on June 13. | Photo Credit: ANI

Sixty is an age when most retire. But four first-time MPs from Maharashtra have begun new careers in their 60s; well almost, for one of them will turn 60 next week and another is 76. These newly elected MPs tasted electoral success for the first time in their political careers.

In Mumbai, the BJP’s Piyush Goyal, a former Union Minister, will be 60 on June 13. This election was his first attempt to win a Lok Sabha seat. So far, Mr. Goyal has been a member of the Rajya Sabha and has handled multiple portfolios, including finance, railways, coal, corporate affairs, commerce and industry, and textiles.

Mr. Goyal’s parents were BJP loyalists. In the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, his father Vedprakash Goyal was the Union Minister of shipping. His mother, Chandrakanta Goyal, was a three-time MLA from Mumbai’s Matunga constituency.

Mr. Goyal won the Mumbai North seat, considered ‘safe’ given the large presence of Gujarati, Kutchi and Marwari-speaking voters, particularly in the suburbs of Kandivali, Borivali and Dahisar. He won by a margin of 3.57 lakh votes against the Congress’s Bhushan Patil.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Anil Desai, elected from Mumbai’s South-Central seat, is 67. A Thackeray family loyalist and close aide of the party leader Uddhav Thackeray, the former Rajya Sabha member is often involved in managing and strategising elections.

It was a close contest between him and his former party colleague Rahul Shewale of the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena. Mr. Desai was reportedly unhappy after being given the South-Central seat as he had set his sights on the neighbouring North-Central constituency. His strategising skills combined with voter sympathy towards Mr. Thackeray’s Sena and anti-incumbency worked in his favour. He won by 53,384 votes.

His biggest leads came from Dharavi and Anushakti Nagar that have a large Muslim and Dalit population. Until just over a decade ago, these two communities were not Shiv Sena voters. This time, a softer stance on these communities worked in favour of the Sena (UBT).

Congress candidate Shahu Chhatrapati, 76, belongs to the royal family of Kolhapur in western Maharashtra. Though a popular personality in the region for his social work, especially in the field of education, former State Minister and MLC Satej ‘Bunty’ Patil was seen as the strategist who mobilised all ground resources to ensure the victory of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s descendent.

Back in 1998, Mr. Shahu had expressed interest in entering electoral politics from the Shiv Sena but did not get a chance. This time around, he enjoyed the backing of the Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Congress who were willing to offer him a ticket. He chose to align with the Congress and defeated his nearest rival the Shinde Sena’s Sanjay Mandlik by over 1.5 lakh votes. The Congress won the seat after 25 years.

During canvassing in March, Mr. Shahu’s rival questioned his lineage but he responded with grace and said, “What should I say? His father and our family have known each other for long.”

Post his victory, Mr. Shahu remembered Karvir MLA P. N. Patil-Sadolikar who passed away on May 23, a fortnight after Kolhapur went to the polls. “Late P. N. Patil, who played a big role in my victory, is not among us today. He should have been alive to witness and be a part of this victory.” Mr. Shahu got a substantial lead from the Karvir Assembly segment.

Kirsan Namdeo, 65, from the Congress, who won the Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST) was a deputy divisional commissioner in the State Excise Department and had taken voluntary retirement in 2008. He contested and won for the first time with a margin of over 1.41 lakh votes, defeating the BJP’s two-time MP Ashok Nete. A total of 6,17,792 voters gave him the mandate after he canvassed for remove the ‘backward’ label off Gadchiroli’s name. Anti-incumbency, too, worked in his favour.

“I was actively working with the Congress for the last 15 years. This time I got a chance to contest and work for the people of Gadhchiroli. I plan to bring better railway connectivity, irrigation projects, improved health infrastructure for the tribal belt of Gadhchiroli, and encourage entrepreneurship among the youth,” Mr. Namdeo told The Hindu.

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