LokSabha 2019: Mumbai South-Central will see a tough fight this time

Pandurang mhaske
Friday, 26 April 2019

In 2009, despite the 50 per cent Marathi population, Shiv Sena’s strong candidate and former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi lost to Congressman Eknath Gaikwad by 13,329 votes.

PUNE: The Mumbai South-Central Lok Sabha constituency will see a fierce battle between the Shiv Sena and the Congress, with the latter having an edge apparently due to predominant Dalit and minority community voters. 

Shiv Sena’s candidate Rahul Shewale has to face the anger of the Dalit voters and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) anti-BJP campaign. 

With a population of 15 lakh, the constituency comprises areas of Anushakti Nagar, Chembur, Dharavi, Sion-Koliwada, Wadala and Mahim. Till 2004, Shiv Sena retained the constituency. In 2009, despite the 50 per cent Marathi population, Shiv Sena’s strong candidate and former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi lost to Congressman Eknath Gaikwad by 13,329 votes. 

The Sena won back the seat in 2014 with 15 per cent vote swing in its favour. Sena’s Rahul Shewale won the election with a huge margin of 1,38,342. Shewale was a first-time contender who won in alliance with BJP and due to the Modi wave. This year, the Modi wave has receded. This time Eknath Gaikwad is contesting on behalf of the Congress. 

Total population of the constituency is 39,10,472 out of which 9.79 per cent are SC voters and 0.97 per cent are ST. As per the voters’ list of 2016, there are 13,55,283 voters. Majority of the Dalits here are unhappy with this government over Bhima Koregaon and other issues. 

The Dalit votes are divided into two sections: Buddhists and Hindu Dalits. Buddhists are in majority in Chembur, Anushakti Nagar, Wadala and some parts of Sion. Hindu Dalits (mainly cobbler community) are residing in Dharavi. They are unhappy with the government over the beef ban and GST, due to which they lost their jobs and have to shut their small manufacturing units of leather goods. 

Voter turnout in the 2014 Parliamentary election was 53.09 per cent where as it was 39.5 per cent in 2009 Parliamentary election, where the Shiv Sena-BJP ‘s share was 43 per cent and Congress’ was 30.36 per cent.

In the 2009 Parliamentary election, Congress’s voting share was 49.57 per cent and Shiv Sena-BJP’s was 31.59 per cent. 

Considering the rise in voting share of BJP-Shiv Sena was due to the Modi wave the non-Marathi voters including the Dalit voters turned towards the BJP and, it helped to increase the BJP-Shiv Sena’s voting percentage. In this election, the major section of Dalit votes may not stand with the BJP-Shiv Sena as they are unhappy. Despite the Modi wave, Eknath Gaikwad’s daughter Varsha Gaikwad got elected from Dharavi assembly. It clearly indicated that Dharavi will go with the Congress and this would be big challenge for Rahul Shewale. 

Most importantly, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is not contesting from this constituency, whereas in 2014 MNS’s Aditya Shirodkar secured 7,300,96 votes in the Lok Sabha election. This time, the MNS is opposing the BJP candidates. MNS’s appeal will help the Congress candidate and these 70,000 votes are crucial in the election.

CRITICAL FACTORS
- With a population of 15 lakh, the constituency comprises areas of Anushakti Nagar, Chembur, Dharavi, Sion-Koliwada, Wadala and Mahim. 
- Formerly a Shiv Sena stronghold, Congress snatched victory in 2009, but lost in 2014. 
- Shiv Sena’s candidate Rahul Shewale has to face the anger of the Dalit voters in the constituency and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) anti-BJP campaign.

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