All six constituencies in Mumbai which go to polls on April 24 are set to witness either triangular or four-cornered contests with Congress-NCP going all out to retain their bastions against the opposition onslaught banking on a “Modi wave”.
As many as 116 candidates are in fray for the six constituencies, which are currently held by the Congress-NCP.
Union Minister Milind Deora is locked in a four-cornered contest with Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena), Bala Nandgaonkar (MNS) and Meera Sanyal (AAP) in Mumbai South.
Priya Dutt is fighting a tough battle to retain her Mumbai North Central seat against Poonam Mahajan (BJP), Farhan Azmi (SP) and Phiroze Palkhiwala of AAP.
In Mumbai North West, Gurudas Kamat is locked in a triangular contest with Gajanan Kirtikar (Shiv Sena) and Mahesh Manjrekar (MNS). Though starlet Rakhi Sawant is also in fray with her Rashtriya Aam Party, she is unlikely to make much impact.
South Central Mumbai is seeking a triangular contest with Eknath Gaikwad of Congress pitted against Rahul Shewale of Shiv Sena and Aditya Shirodkar of MNS.
Both Congress and Shiv Sena are battling internal dissidence with legislators Chandrakant Handore and Jagannath Shetty being opposed to Gaikwad and former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi unhappy with Shewale’s candidature.
In North East, sitting NCP MP Sanjay Dina Patil is in a triangular fight with BJP’s Kirit Somaiya and AAP’s Medha Patkar.
In North Mumbai, Sanjay Nirupam is locked in a four-cornered fight with Gopal Shetty (BJP), Satish Jain (AAP) and Kamlesh Yadav (SP).
All the candidates are braving Mumbai’s hot, humid weather and interacting with voters taking out padyatras, street corner meetings and door-to-door campaign. So far, campaigning has been low-key and glitz and glamour has been absent, whereas in the past film personalities would come out to campaign for candidates.
In Mumbai North, North Central and South Central, there are 21 candidates each in fray while in South, there are 20 nominees. In North East there are total 19 candidates while the least number of 14 candidates are in North West.
There are 52 independents in contesting the polls.
Late actor Sunil Dutt had first contested the election from Mumbai in 1984 and was a elected representative till his death in 2005. Actor Govinda contested from Mumbai North in 2004.
Now, actor-director Mahesh Manjrekar is contesting on MNS ticket from Mumbai North West. There is Rakhi Sawant who has formed her own Rashtriya Aam Party and actor Hemant Birje of ‘Tarzan’ fame, who is contesting in Mumbai North Central contesting on All India Forward Bloc ticket.
Actor Salman Khan and veteran actress Asha Parekh have issued statements in support of Congress candidate from Mumbai North West Gurudas Kamat.
Actor Amol Kolhe, who is known for essaying role of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in a television series, has joined the Shiv Sena and has campaigned for the Sena candidates.
Earlier, Shiv Sena-BJP would jointly launch election campaigns in Mumbai with Atal Behari Vajpayee, LK Advani and Bal Thackeray sharing dias at Shivaji Park. However, this time BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi has not shared dias with Shiv Sena leadership during his seven public meetings in the state so far.
BJP sources say that campaign has been three-tier in this election. “Narendra Modi rallies, mahayuti leaders addressing rallies, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, BJP leaders Gopinath Munde, Vinod Tawde have campaigned separately and together,” sources said.
According to BJP sources, the Sena-BJP campaign is very positive. “Our seat sharing was locked without problems and we started our campaign much before the Congress-NCP,” they said.
Modi has addressed rally for Shiv Sena candidate Anand Adsul in Amravati. His Pune rally covered Baramati, as well where alliance partner Mahadev Jankar is contesting. Similarly, his rally in Ahmednagar covered Shirdi as well where Shiv Sena is in fray, sources said.
“A public meeting is planned in Mumbai before the end of campaign for the April 24 elections,” sources said.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will address an election rally at BKC on April 20. Sources said there is difficulty in organising election meetings in Mumbai with only Somaiya ground and BKC available.