Maharashtra Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Major Setback To BJP As Shiv Sena Bags Mumbai South Lok Sabha Constituency Seat

Maharashtra Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Major Setback To BJP As Shiv Sena Bags Mumbai South Lok Sabha Constituency Seat

The BJP had staked its claim to Mumbai South Lok Sabha seat right from the start of the seat-sharing talks with its allies in the ruling MahaYuti.

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Wednesday, May 01, 2024, 12:33 AM IST
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The Mumbai unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received a severe setback on Wednesday when it was forced to surrender the prestigious Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency to its ally, the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. Said a party insider: "We were unable to resolve intense intra-party differences over this constituency. The leadership preferred to concede the seat to the Shiv Sena rather than risk a major revolt on the eve of the polls."

The BJP had staked its claim to this seat right from the start of the  seat-sharing talks with its allies in the ruling MahaYuti, Shiv Sena and NCP (Ajit Pawar). But the fight between minister and Malabar Hill MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha and Speaker of the assembly and Colaba MLA Rahul Narwekar for the party's ticket was so intense that the leadership could not take a decision. If one of the two aspirants was given the ticket, the other would have definitely protested.

BJP's Mumbai South Struggle

In fact, Narwekar had even attended a meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Sena, a political outfit founded by don Arun Gawli with a view to send a message to the party leadership. A BJP leader said, "We could have definitely fielded an eminent person in Mumbai South. Now we are forced to support the candidature of Yamini Jadhav, Byculla MLA, who has no connect with most parts of the parliamentary constituency. She lacks the stature needed to match that of sitting M.P. Arvind Sawant of the Shiv Sena (UBT), who won both the 2014 and 2019 polls." 

However, senior BJP leader Atul Shah told FPJ that "We are very confident of  getting  Jadhav elected. We will make Sawant lose his deposit."

BJP's Struggles and Controversies In Candidate Selection

In Mumbai North Central also the BJP could not find a candidate to replace its sitting M.P. Poonam Mahajan and had to rope in advocate Ujwal Nikam, a rank outsider, as its nominee. In Mumbai north-west, Shinde has managed to field Ravindra Waikar, controversial MLA, as his party candidate. Waikar, who was with Uddhav Thackeray until recently, defected to the Shinde camp following a summons from the Enforcement Directorate. He was on the verge of being arrested.

But after he joined hands with Shinde the ED action was put on the backburner and now has been rewarded with a ticket to contest the parliamentary polls. He is pitted against Amol Kirtikar of the Shiv Sena (UBT). There is tremendous resentment within the city BJP over the fielding of Yamini Jadhav and Waikar. Meanwhile, the Congress is yet to find a candidate to oppose Piyush Goyal of the BJP in Mumbai north.

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