Mumbai

Rude jolt for Congress stalwarts in Mumbai

Mumbaiites have shown the door to the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party. In a complete reversal of the 2009 election results the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance has won all the six seats in the island city this time. The Congress got a rude shock with the defeat of stalwarts such as Milind Deora, Priya Dutt, Sanjay Nirupam, Eknath Gaikwad and Gurudas Kamat.

Two-time MP Milind Deora lost the plush South Mumbai constituency to Sena candidate Arvind Sawant by a margin of 1.2 lakh votes. Mumbai North Central, a constituency considered to be the Congress bastion due to the hold of the Dutt family over it, was lost to BJP this time. Actor Sanjay Dutt’s sister Priya Dutt who consistently won the seat after the demise of her immensely popular father Sunil Dutt, lost it to Poonam Mahajan.

Mr. Nirupam faced a humiliating defeat at the hands of BJP candidate Gopal Shetty, who won by a huge margin of over 4.4 lakh votes.

Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) too stood decimated in all the three constituencies where it had fielded candidates against the Shiv Sena. In the 2009 polls, the party had put up an impressive show by garnering more than one lakh votes in each of the six constituencies. But this time, it could not dent the Sena vote bank as it barely managed to get 2.2 votes in all the three seats together.

Even star power could not salvage the party’s fortunes. Mahesh Manjrekar, the director of films like ‘Vaastav’, ‘Astitiva’ was given AAP ticket from Mumbai North West constituency. He gained only 66088 votes in a constituency won by Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar against Congress stalwart Gurudas Kamat by a margin of 1.8 lakh votes. Mr Kirtikar garnered 4.6 lakh votes.

Mr. Raj Thackeray had publicly expressed his support for Mr Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, and did not field any candidate against the BJP.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was a distant third in four of the six constituencies. Social activist and AAP candidate from Mumbai North East Medha Patkar lost to the BJP’s Kirit Somaiya by a whopping margin of 4.4 lakh votes. She could get only 76,451 votes. Banker Meera Sanyal, who contested from South Mumbai, could garner only around 40,388 votes.

Item girl Rakhi Sawant, who had surprised everyone by launching her own political party named Rashtriya Aam Party, got 2006 votes.

Thanks to smart campaigning, a Shiv Sena candidate won the South Mumbai constituency after a long time. Arvind Sawant, who was pitted against Milind Deora, was projected not as Sena candidate but as an NDA candidate. The BJP activists kept reminding the voters to vote for ‘bow and arrow.’ “NaMo = Arvind Sawant”, posters put up by the alliance read.

Another Congress bastion of Mumbai South Central fell in the hands of Shiv Sena this time. Veteran Congress leader Eknath Gaikwad was trumped by Sena’s Arvind Shewale by a margin of around 1.4 lakh votes.

Over half lakh Mumbaiites exercised the new NOTA option in these elections. 52,971 voters from all six constituencies felt that none of the candidates in the fray were suitable to be elected.

Talking about the performance of AAP in the Mumbai polls, Medha Patkar said that the party had put up an impressive show in just two years. “AAP has emerged as a strong alternative. In two years, it is the number three party in politics. We were defeated because we could not stand up to the expectations of the people,” she told reporters here.

Mr. Deora and Ms. Dutt congratulated the BJP and said the Congress will introspect on the reasons for failure. “We will try to be a responsible opposition,” Mr. Deora said.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 2:30:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/rude-jolt-for-congress-stalwarts-in-mumbai/article6019079.ece

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