Congress is confident that it will hold all seats in Mumbai and deny any wave will become a hurdle in their win.
Leaders are giving various reasons behind Congress doing well in Mumbai and one of them being policies announced by the Maharashtra government for betterment of slum-dwellers and thus minorities had come out in large numbers to vote in the maximum city.
Mumbai, which has a poor voter turnout track record, saw an 11 per cent jump this time. The city has seen a huge turnout between 4 PM and 6 PM; it is speculated that NGOs urged people to come out and vote. Though the 53 per cent figure is well much below than the national average, but it has crossed the 50 per cent figure for the first time in last 15 years.
The Shiv Sena candidate Arvind Sawant may just be profiting from the Modi wave. In the absence of any BJP candidate, many of those interviewed by him said they planned to vote for Sawant, despite the fact that they weren’t traditional Shiv Sena supporters.
South Mumbai isn’t averse to voting for BJP or Shiv Sena candidates in the past as previous assembly elections have shown. But Milind Deora who may have been expecting a cakewalk may not get one.
In Muslim-dominated areas such as Mohammad Ali road and Pydhonie in South Mumbai Lok Sabha constituency, very few people were seen in the queues for polling in morning but in the evening, people come out from their houses in large numbers which boosted the turnout. This turnout may change the equation in Mumbai South constituency.
“I firmly believe that I am fighting to protect the social and economic diversity of South Mumbai,” Milind Deora said. He said the elections were always challenging and he said none of his opponents found it a cakewalk either. And expectedly he’s not predicting any Modi wave in this election.
In Mumbai North Central constituency, parties were finding it difficult to find a powerful candidates against Congress candidate Priya Dutt. However, she is finding it difficult to win in this election after BJP fielded Poonam Mahajan, Samajwadi Party fielded Farhan Azmi and AAP, Phiroze Palkhiwala. A Congress source said, “After the huge turnout in the evening, she is confident and even workers are sure that she will retain her seat here. She urged people to come out and vote. “We all have a lot of activism in Mumbai but when it comes to voting, people always stay away…I appealed to them to come out, especially to the youngsters and they voted this time,” Congress candidate Priya Dutt said. When asked about the result, she said, “Definitely, I will win because they love me and I have worked for them.”
She is also banking on votes in the areas of Khar Road, Kurla and Bandra.
“Minority turnout has been exceptionally high and for the first time voters in large numbers have this time decided to vote. No one factor will swing the outcome in one particular direction. I am quite hopeful that our party will do very well in Mumbai,” confident MPCC President Manikrao Thakre said.
Chances of Sanjay Nirupam and Eknath Gaikwad are very less. Last time, Sanjay Nirupam won by mere 5000 vote margin. “We think AAP is biggest factor in Mumbai North constituency and Gujarati community’s presence in large numbers makes Gopal Shetty’s chances high. Let us not forget that 55 per cent people of Mumbai live in slums, they form a huge voting percentage. The voting percentage is much higher than the elements which are supporting NDA. However, we are not losing hope on this seat also.”
The Gujaratis of Ghatkopar East were certainly out casting their vote in the Mumbai North-East constituency. Three separate polling stations in Ghatkopar East wore a busy look, families in cars and temple-goers stopped to first cast their vote. Ghatkopar East was one of the Assembly segments in the 2009 election that saw the BJP’s Kirit Somaiya gain a big lead. Somaiya went on to lose the election. “We are BJP supporters. And this time we are more committed than in 2009 to ensure a BJP win,” said Veljibhai Shah, emerging from the polling station in a Marathi school opposite a Jain shrine in Ghatkopar East. Fight is tough in this constituency, so chances of Kirit Somaiya seems high.
The diversification of votes in Mumbai North West makes fight cakewalk for Congress Candidate Gurudas Kamat. The vote split between Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) candidate Mahesh Manjrekar, who is also a Bollywood Star and Gajanan Kirtikar of Shiv Sena will help Kamat a smooth win here.
While opinion polls are indicative of BJP-led NDA government coming in power at the Centre, Congress leaders are confident that Modi-led BJP won’t be able to garner more than 170-180 seats and that there is no possibility of a third front forming a government without the support of Congress.