Navi Mumbai : The city of 21st century (Navi Mumbai) is all set for multi-cornered contest in the October 15 assembly elections. For the first time, all major political parties will contest against each other. With the break-up of both the ruling and opposition combines (the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party’s the ‘Democratic Front’ and the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party-led ‘Mahayuti’) in the state  has made it a do or die battle for them in the forthcoming elections.

Navi Mumbai has two assembly seats, Belapur and Airoli. Till now, both the seats are considered as stronghold of the NCP in general and Naik clan in particular. In 2009 assembly elections both Ganesh Naik and his son Sandeep Naik had won from Belapur and Airoli segments respectively. However, 2014 parliamentary elections’ outcome has reduced clout of Naiks to some extent. And hence, BJP wanted at least one seat in Navi Mumbai which was turned down by the Shiv Sena. Now, both the parties decided to contest separately in all 288 seats.

While Belapur will witness a six-cornered contest, Airoli is expected to witness four-cornered fight. The last date of filing of nomination papers was closed on September 27. It has emerged that three heavy weight candidates, Namdeo Bhagat of Congress, Manda Mhatre of BJP and ex-NMMC commissioner Vijay Nahata of Shiv Sena, are pitted against former Thane guardian minister Ganesh Naik. Independent candidate Vinod Gangwal and one from MNS are also in the fray.

In Airoli, besides sitting MLA Sandeep Naik, local Shiv Sena unit chief Vijay Choughule, Vaibhav Naik of BJP and one from the Congress have filed their nomination for the October 15 elections.

According to information available, Congress candidate Namdeo Bhagat has emerged as a topper in list of crorepati candidates with assets worth Rs 36. 25 crore followed by Ganesh Naik (assets worth Rs 15.60 crore), BJP’s Vaibhav Naik (Rs 11.20 crore), NCP’s Sandeep Naik (Rs 9.25 crore), BJP’s Manda Mhatre (Rs 4.50 crore) and former civic chief Vijay Nahata (Rs 4.27 crore).

Indra Bhadra

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