Residents of Mumbai are discerning voters, who want the money raised through taxes to be well spent on infrastructure and public amenities. For them, the bottom line is the city’s development and growth. But it is not as if a Mumbaikar cannot see beyond his nose; the nation’s security is an overriding concern. So is social cohesion.
But there is also an overhang of demonetisation, given that most businesses are located in Mumbai. The crumbling infrastructure is a grim reminder of the facelift the city badly needs; just as the Metro and other projects are a constant reminder of which way we are headed.
But despite these extremities, the city’s residents are not too lavish when it comes to stepping out to vote. It is time to prove they value their vote as much as they value money.
ACTOR V/S STRONGMAN
MUMBAI NORTH: Actress Urmila Matondkar is challenging the might of BJP’s strongman Gopal Shetty in this erstwhile party stronghold. The constituency has earlier been represented by stalwarts like S. A. Dange, V. K. Krishna Menon, Mrinal Gore, Ram Naik, actor Govinda, and former Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam.
It is one of the three seats in the state which has a candidate from the glamour world in the fray.
Despite Mumbai being the film capital, Mumbai North is only the second constituency in the state which has ever elected a film star – Govinda (2004).
MUMBAI NORTH EAST: The constituency, which gave four Union Ministers – Subramaniam Swamy, Pramod Mahajan, Gurudas Kamat and Jaywantiben Mehta – will see a contest between BJP’s Manoj Kotak and NCP’s former MP Sanjay Dina Patil.
The seat led to a bitter stand-off between the BJP-Sena, with the latter strongly opposed to BJP repeating sitting member Kirit Somaiya and threatening to break the alliance.
The BJP backed down and fielded Kotak. The constituency has total 16,68,347 voters comprising 9,23,011 males and 7,45,342 females.
MUMBAI NORTH WEST: The Shiv Sena has re-nominated its sitting MP Gajanan C. Kirtikar who wrested the seat from the Congress strongman Gurudas Kamat in 2014. The constituency includes a significant portion of Mumbai’s ‘Glamour Crescent’, the other end of which falls in Mumbai North-Central.
Kirtikar will contest against former Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam, an ex-Shiv Sainik and three-time MP who is making his fourth bid for Parliament.
The constituency has an electorate of 17,75,428 including 9,86,908 men and 7,88,520 women.
MUMBAI NORTH CENTRAL: This is one of the only two constituencies in the state having a direct woman-to-woman fight (the other is Baramati) between two scions of political families – sitting BJP MP Poonam Mahajan and three-time MP Priya Dutt of the Congress.
Both are daughters of stalwarts and former Union Ministers – the late Pramod Mahajan and the late Sunil Dutt, respectively, and now in a close fight. One of the two constituencies in the city (the other being Mumbai North), which has elected a film star in the past, it is part of the ‘Glamour Crescent’.
DHARAVI & BIZ POCKETS
MUMBAI SOUTH CENTRAL: It houses Asia’s biggest slum of Dharavi, besides several affluent pockets where the sitting MP is Sena’s Rahul Shewale. He is pitted against former city chief of Congress, ex-MP Eknath Gaikwad.
The constituency with some booking and swank new business districts, mega-housing complexes and the congested slums of Dharavi, has an electorate of 14,47,885 including 7,93,801 men and 6,54,084 women.
It is also a constituency of extremities, where the demographic profile will play a large role in determing the result.
MUMBAI SOUTH: A small but prestigious constituency, this time former MP and Union Minister Milind M. Deora is hoping to wrest it back from Sena’s sitting MP Arvind Sawant. Deora recently got a big shot in the arm when top players of India Inc. came out in open support for him, besides the business and trading communities.
This constituency – which has given four Union Ministers in George Fernandes, Milind and his late father Murli Deora, Jaywantiben Mehta – comprises large tracts of VVIP areas and affluent pockets as well as middle and lower-middle class localities.