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Assembly polls: Post-divorce, netas explore newer grounds

Most of the candidates have not worked in their constituencies, which belonged to their alliance partner, and are struggling to build a base

The four parties, Shiv Sena, BJP, Congress and the NCP have put up candidates in constituencies which belonged to their former alliance partners. Most of the candidates and even their parties have never worked in the constituencies, so the politicians are struggling to even build a base for the assembly elections.

For example, Mihir Kotecha of the BJP is a known face in Mulund, but is now contesting from Wadala. Narendra Rane of the NCP resides in Ghatkopar but is contesting from Malabar Hill. Similarly, Amol Kirtikar resides in Goregaon, but is now contesting on a Sena ticket from Kandivli (East).

Divya Dhole is a resident of Andheri, but is contesting from Dharavi on a BJP ticket. Yusuf Abrahani is from Mumbai Central but is contesting from Mankhurd on a Congress ticket. Even the leader of opposition in the Council, Vinod Tawde, is contesting the election on a BJP ticket from Borivli.

He lives in Vile Parle. While people like Tawde, Abrahani have a party base in these constituencies, for many even that is a challenge. One of the candidates claimed that he had applied to the party for a ticket from his own area, but when the alliance broke, the party gave him a constituency that is nearly 30 kilometres from his home.

“Firstly, the party has no base in these areas as we haven’t contested in these constituencies for decades. But now, to show its strength, the party has fielded candidates from all seats. We are facing problems because in many seats we don't even have proper organisation,” said a candidate.

Kotecha claims that his candidature from Wadala is a challenge and he won’t fail his party. But the truth is that in Wadala, Congress candidate Kalidas Kolambkar has been the MLA for last three terms. And the Sena has held this seat. This is the first time that the BJP is fielding its candidate here.

“I have taken up this challenge and will see to it that I win. We haven’t contested elections here but we do have supporters and will surely win,” said Kotecha.

Omnipresent support
NCP Mumbai Spokesperson Udaypratap Singh said, “Though our candidate stays in Ghatkopar, he is fully aware about South Mumbai and was given the candidature from Malabar Hill. The support base for our party is omnipresent in Mumbai and hence we aren't scared of venturing into new constituencies.”

The candidates face challenges like finding supporters during the campaign and setting up an office, while remaining unaware of the local social and cultural set up in their respective constituencies. All these factors will have an impact. So, some candidates say they won’t hold door-to-door meetings, instead they will have more rallies in select areas, thus avoiding having to confront voters directly.

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