Mumbai: Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar will be contesting the assembly election from Bandra East, a Shiv Sena bastion, given that Matoshree is part of the constituency. Meanwhile, it is being speculated that Zeeshan Siddique of the Indian National Congress will provide tough competition to Mahadeshwar, as the youth is likely to vote for change.
Winning this constituency is very important for the Shiv Sena as Matoshree is the residence of the party chief Uddhav Thackeray. This seat was earlier held by two-time member of the legislative assembly (MLA) the late Prakash Sawant, after which his wife, Trupti won a high-profile byelection, defeating former chief minister Narayan Rane.
This time, interestingly, Thackeray has given his blessing to sitting MLA Trupti, who is contesting the election as an Independent. After the Sena declared its list of candidates and it emerged that Trupti's name was missing, her supporters created a ruckus outside Matoshree. It is believed that Trupti's rebellion will make it hard for Mahadeshwar to win. Mahadeshwar is also pitted against Siddique, son of the former Congress MLA Baba Siddique and Akhil Chitre from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.
Mahadeshwar has been a loyal Sainik for over 36 years and has promised to focus on the development of slums in the constituency and to ensure that the government employees are able to get a house of their own on retirement. "Being the mayor, I have worked closely with people for the betterment of the city amid massive climate change. With this knowledge, we will make Mumbai a garbage-free, pollution-free and high-speed city, by running electric buses on the streets," said Mahadeshwar. He also took credit for the setting up of an intensive care unit and a trauma ward at the civic-run V N Desai Hospital in Santacruz (E).
However, Congress candidate Siddique is facing a lot of flak for contesting from Bandra East, while being a resident of upscale Bandra (W), where his father was a former MLA. Siddique feels that people in his constituency are enraged with the apathy of past Shiv Sena MLAs and want change. Siddique said, the main issues he would address were those of infrastructure, sanitation, medical facilities and civic amenities. "I am an educated young personality and I am sure that people will vote for progress and development now. I have largely nurtured the area for the last five years and have worked for people. For a while, I had started a 'clinic-on-wheels' in Bandra (E), for the benefit of those residents who cannot make it to the hospital," Siddique said.
"Vishwanath Mahadeshwar hardly addressed people's problems when he was a corporator, how can we trust him to work as an MLA? Ever since he was elected mayor, all he he has done is to come up with excuses. It is hard to say if he can be trusted with our vote again," said Menaka Kothari, a retired banker.
Previous poll results
Election Member Party
2009 Prakash Sawant Shiv Sena
2014 Prakash Sawant Shiv Sena
2015 (byelection) Trupti Sawant Shiv Sena
Bandra East constituency has around 84,000 Muslim voters, 19,000 voters from the SC category, 60,000 Maharashtrians, 34,000 north Indians and 5,000 Christians. The constituency has been with the Shiv Sena since 2009.
Vishwanath Mahadeshwar -- Shiv Sena
Zeeshan Siddique -- Indian National Congress
Trupti Sawant -- Independent
Akhil Chitre -- Maharashtra Navnirman Sena