Near sweep for saffron alliance in city’s 36 constituencies

NCP gets on board with one seat; Sena rebellion in Bandra East gives Congress a bonus win

Published - October 25, 2019 01:33 am IST - Mumbai

All decked up:  The BJP headquarters at Nariman Point is adorned with garlands and lanterns to celebrate the party victory on Thursday.

All decked up: The BJP headquarters at Nariman Point is adorned with garlands and lanterns to celebrate the party victory on Thursday.

Mumbai was painted saffron yet again on Thursday as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 16 of the 36 Assembly seats in the city, while its ally Shiv Sena won 14.

The Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance managed to clinch five seats while the Samajwadi Party’s State chief, Abu Azmi, won the party’s only seat in the city.

Issues such as collapsing infrastructure, poor roads, monsoon flooding and delayed infrastructure projects did not dent the prospects of the saffron alliance, which fought the election largely on the back of national issues such as the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir. A majority of the sitting MLAs retained their seats.

In 2014, when the parties had contested the elections separately, the BJP had won 15 seats, followed by the Sena at 14. The Congress had managed to win in five seats, while the NCP could not get a single seat. This time, as the Mahayuti came together, the Sena contested 19 seats while the BJP contested 17.

The biggest upset was the defeat of four-term Congress MLA Arif (Naseem) Khan, who lost to Sena first-timer Dilip Lande by a mere 409 votes. Mr. Lande had switched parties from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) two years ago, and was the chairman of improvements committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Another first-timer, Sunil Rane, who was fielded by the BJP from Borivali after it denied ticket to former State education minister Vinod Tawde, won by a huge margin of 95,021 votes. Former NCP leader Rahul Narwekar, who had switched to the BJP and was given candidature from Colaba after setting aside sitting MLA Raj Purohit, won by a margin of 16,195 votes.

In Dharavi, the Congress’s Varsha Gaikwad won a fourth term, defeating Sena’s Ashish More by 11,824 votes.

The felling of trees at Aarey Milk Colony also seems to have impacted voting patterns as Jogeshwari (East) registered one of the highest rates of NOTA in the State. Nearly 12,031 people opted for NOTA, which was more than the number of votes received by candidates of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Despite this, Sena MLA Ravindra Waikar retained his seat, winning by a fairly large margin of 58,787 votes. Even Borivali saw 10,095 NOTA votes while 6,305 NOTA votes were registered in Worli, where Yuva Sena president Aaditya Thackeray won by a massive margin of 67,427 votes.

In Wadala, BJP’s Kalidas Kolambkar won his eighth term as a legislator by a margin of 30,845 against Congress’s Shivkumar Lad. In 2014, he had won by a slim margin of 800.

Another major upset for the Mahayuti was the loss of Bandra East, which houses Matoshree, the Thackeray homestead. The Sena failed to quell the rebellion of incumbent MLA Trupti Sawant, who contested as an Independent and clocked around 23,000 votes. Her candidature split the alliance’s vote bank in the area, leading to the defeat of Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and Congress leader Zeeshan Siddiqui’s victory.

In Anushakti Nagar, NCP’s Nawab Malik unseated Tukaram Kate of Sena, winning by 12,751 votes. In Mahim, MNS’s Sandeep Deshpande was unable to defeat Sena candidate Sada Sarvankar, who won by a margin of 18,647 votes.

Rich winners

Sitting MLA from Versova, Bharati Lavekar (BJP), who was up against actor turned politician Baldev Khosa from the Congress and Sena rebel Rajul Patel, won by a margin of 5,186 votes. BJP’s Parag Shah, the richest candidate to contest the elections, secured the Ghatkopar East seat with a margin of 53,319 votes against MNS candidate Satish Pawar. Mr. Shah had declared assets of over ₹500 crore, more than that of BJP Mumbai unit chief Mangal Prabhat Lodha. Mr. Lodha, who retained his seat from Malabar Hill, had declared assets of ₹441 crore.

Meanwhile, the Samajwadi Party retained its seat in Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar, as Mr. Azmi defeated Sena’s Vithal Lokare by 25,601 votes. In 2014, the party’s State chief had won the seat by a margin of 9,937 votes.

(With inputs from Ajeet Mahale, Sonam Saigal and Rachita Dabre)

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