Sena vs Sena: Mumbai Braces For Showdown As Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Determine True Leadership

Sena vs Sena: Mumbai Braces For Showdown As Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Determine True Leadership

Even though the Election Commission of India (ECI) had declared the Shiv Sena faction led by chief minister Eknath Shinde as the real Shiv Sena, the May 20 Lok Sabha election will decide which is indeed the real Shiv Sena; the one led by Shinde or Uddhav Thackeray.

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Thursday, May 02, 2024, 01:19 AM IST
article-image
Sena vs Sena: Mumbai Braces For Showdown As Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Determine True Leadership |

Mumbai: Even though the Election Commission of India (ECI) had declared the Shiv Sena faction led by chief minister Eknath Shinde as the real Shiv Sena, the May 20 Lok Sabha election will decide which is indeed the real Shiv Sena; the one led by Shinde or Uddhav Thackeray.

The split in the Sena has divided the Marathi manoos who formed a solid vote bank for the undivided party founded by the late Bal Thackeray. The battle line up became clear on Wednesday as candidates for all the six parliamentary seats were announced by the major parties. In three seats, the rival factions of the Shiv Sena are pitted against each other.

In Mumbai south sitting M.P. Arvind Sawant, a staunch Thackeray loyalist, is being challenged by Yamini Jadhav, Shiv Sena MLA from Byculla. It is an uneven battle because in terms of political stature, parliamentary experience, and articulation Sawant is streets ahead of Jadhav, who is the wife of controversial ex-chairman of the standing committee of the BMC.

While Sawant won the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 and 2019 and is familiar to voters of Mumbai South, Ms Jadhav is an unknown quantity outside of Byculla. Sawant is being supported by the Congress, whose popular MLA Amin Patel can be expected to swing Muslim votes in favour of the Shiv Sena (UBT).

There is also tremendous resentment among BJP cadres over their party's decision to surrender the prestigious seat to the Shiv Sena. It will not be surprising if they do not campaign for Ms Jadhav with enthusiasm. The Shiv Sena (UBT) has retained much of the organisational structure of the undivided Shiv Sena in this constituency and this will majorly help Sawant.

In Mumbai South Central, sitting Shiv Sena M.P. Rahul Shewale is being opposed by Anil Desai, a close confidant of Uddhav Thackeray. Desai was earlier a member of the Rajya Sabha and does have grassroot level contact unlike Shewale. The latter, who belongs to a backward caste, was elected twice (2014 and 2019) from this constituency which he has nursed well in the past decade.

Even though he was embroiled in a controversy following allegations levelled by a Delhi-based woman, overall public perception of him is positive. Being a longtime Shiv Sainik, he knows the strategy adopted by the party to win polls and this knowledge he had successfully tested in the past two LS polls.

Shewale being a Dalit can be expected to shore up Dalit voters of Bhoiwada, Dharavi and other segments of his constituency. Desai, in sharp contrast, is an upper class SoBo resident whose strength is his close proximity to the Thackerays. Because of this, cadres of the Shiv Sena (UBT) can be expected to go the extra mile to get him elected.

Mumbai North West is the third seat where a bitter battle will be fought between the two Senas. The Shiv Sena (UBT) has fielded Amol Kirtikar, son of the sitting M.P. Gajanan Kirtikar who has defected to the Shinde camp. He is being opposed by Ravindra Waikar of the Shiv Sena, who is a highly controversial politician who was accused of usurping a large ground in Jogeshwari for constructing a five-star hotel.

Waikar was on the verge of being arrested, when he jumped into the Shiv Sena led by Shinde and earned a reprieve from the Enforcement Directorate which was after him. He is one of the many politicians who have escaped the ED's noose by simply joining either the BJP or its ally, the Shiv Sena of Shinde.

The city Congress president and Dharavi MLA Varsha Gaikwad is locked in a straight fight with noted lawyer Ujwal Nikam of the BJP in Mumbai North Central. In this constituency the BJP denied the ticket to its sitting M.P. Poonam Mahajan and gave it to Nikam. While Gaikwad is a prominent Dalit leader of Mumbai, Nikam, who is a Maratha, is known out of legal circles.

He is a political novice who is entirely dependent on city BJP president and Bandra MLA Ashish Shelar to bail him out. Varsha Gaikwad, whose late father Eknath Gaikwad was a Congress M.P., was keen on contesting from Mumbai South Central against Shewale. She belongs to the Mahar Dalit community which has a sizable presence in Mumbai South Central, while Shewale is a Chambar Dalit.

But, for some strange reason the Congress high command decided to field Varsha Gaikwad from Mumbai North Central. Congress workers from other constituencies can be expected to mobilise support for her since her success will give a much-needed boost to the party in the commercial capital of the country.

In Mumbai North, it will be an uneven fight between Union minister Piyush Goyal of the BJP and Bhushan Patil, vice-president of the city Congress. Most aspirants were unwilling to contest from this seat, because it is perceived to be BJP stronghold. The BJP is particularly strong in Goregaon, Malad, Kandivli and Borivli.

In fact, Goyal , who is known to be close to PM Modi, was nominated from this constituency precisely because it is regarded as a safe seat. Earlier M.P.s of the BJP from this seat like Ram Naik and Gopal Shetty have consolidated their party's hold here and this will help Goyal big time.

In Mumbai North East, the BJP denied the ticket to its sitting M.P. Manoj Kotak despite the fact that his performance was widely regarded to be good. In fact, the BJP has denied tickets to all the three of its sitting M.P.s from Mumbai - Poonam Mahajan, Gopal Shetty and Manoj Kotak - for unexplained reasons.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) has nominated Sanjay Dina Patil, former M.P. of the NCP, from this seat. Sanjay is the son of the late Dina Bama Patil, trade union leader known for his strong arm tactics. Sanjay's earlier performance as M.P. left much to be deserved.

The BJP has fielded its MLA from Mulund Mihir Kotecha, who had earlier unsuccessfully contested the assembly election from Matunga. Sanjay enjoys the support of the Congress and the RPI faction headed by Deepak Nikhalje, younger brother of incarcerated don Chhota Rajan.

RECENT STORIES

Mumbai Weather Update: IMD Predicts Clear Skies Conditions With High Humidity Today; 16 Districts In...

Mumbai Weather Update: IMD Predicts Clear Skies Conditions With High Humidity Today; 16 Districts In...

Mumbai: Wheelchair-Bound Centenarian Freedom Fighter Will Cast His Vote To Inspire Voters In Phase 5

Mumbai: Wheelchair-Bound Centenarian Freedom Fighter Will Cast His Vote To Inspire Voters In Phase 5

Mumbai: FIR Against Shiv Sena UBT Several Political Workers For Allegedly Vandalising Mihir...

Mumbai: FIR Against Shiv Sena UBT Several Political Workers For Allegedly Vandalising Mihir...

'Rape Survivor To Carry Pregnancy To Full Term On Medical Board’s Opinion': Bombay High Court...

'Rape Survivor To Carry Pregnancy To Full Term On Medical Board’s Opinion': Bombay High Court...

Mumbai News: Worli Police Arrests Man For Allegedly Raping 24-Year-Old Woman Seeking Job Assistance...

Mumbai News: Worli Police Arrests Man For Allegedly Raping 24-Year-Old Woman Seeking Job Assistance...