Constituency Profile: Bandra West; Direct fight between BJP & Congress

Mumbai: The Bandra West constituency, which was once a stronghold of Indian National Congress (INC), owing to the presence of minority population, was taken over by Ashish Shelar of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014. The word on the ground seems people expect the same result with incumbent Shelar winning the seat. This year, the Bandra West constituency will witness a face-off between BJP Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and State Minister of School Education Ashish Shelar and three-time Congress corporator Asif Zakaria.

While main contenders for the seat of Bandra West assembly constituency are candidates from BJP and Congress, the other parties like Bahujan Samaj Party and All India Majlis-E-Ittehad-Ul-Muslimeen have also fielded their candidates. The citizens are in awe of both, Shelar and Zakaria, who are popular among the citizens’ associations. On one hand, Shelar has undertaken several development works in this area, while Zakaria has taken up important issues in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s standing committee and the civic general body.

An advocate by profession, Shelar often played the role of a watchdog when representing the BJP as a corporator. His rise to the state legislature has been gradual. In 2014 assembly polls, Shelar had defeated the three time legislator, Baba Siddique, of Congress and the Shiv Sena candidate, Vilas Chawri, with a margin of 26,911 votes. Shelar like many other stalwart politicians is closely associated with sports and was elected as the vice president of the Mumbai Cricket Association in 2015.

Exuding confidence, Shelar said, "I am 100 per cent sure I will be victorious this time, with a big margin. I have worked on a three-point agenda in the last five years-- accessibility, humility and aggressive development. I plan to continue with the same plan for the next five years."

Meanwhile, Zakaria, a corporator who has served three terms, is also popular among several citizens' groups and with the Advance Locality Managements in this area. He is popular among the Muslim and Catholic community too. Zakaria claimed he has a good rapport with everyone and attempts to work at the grassroot for solving people's problems. "My way of functioning has always been participatory and given a chance, I would do the same and aim to work towards the betterment of the citizens," Zakaria said.

Main contenders

Ashish Shelar-- BJP

Asif Zakaria-- INC

Previous results

Election Member Party

2009 Baba Siddique Indian National Congress

2014 Ashish Shelar Bharatiya Janata Party

Issues

Better employment opportunities

Ease traffic congestion

Reduce noise pollution

People's voices

Riya Talpade, preschool teacher

What we need is the rectification of traffic congestion, as there is a bottleneck on a daily basis near the SV Road. The main problem is, the road leading from Khotwadi to Sanrtacruz station is one-way, but the motorists are seen to be flouting the rules often. It is difficult for the pedestrians to walk on the roads here.

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