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Know your constituency: The big fight

Continuing the series to help voters make an informed decision, mid-day examines the political dynamics and candidates in the Kothrud constituency, where the recent end of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance might eat into Sena’s dominance

Constituency history
Kothrud, which includes some segments of Shivajinagar constituency, has always been a stronghold of the Shiv Sena. Despite the seat-sharing deal between the BJP and Shiv Sena, the constituency has always been with the Sena, even though the area has a large number of traditional BJP voters. In 2009, Sena MLA Chandrakant Mokate won the election with a meagre margin of 7,212 votes against his MNS rival Kishor Shinde.

Chandrakant Mokate

Local dynamics
The 2014 contest is expected to be a repeat of 2009, except this time, the BJP has fielded its own candidate, Medha Kulkarni, who can eat into Sena’s votes. Another advantage with the BJP is that its leader, Ujjwal Keskar, who had contested as an independent in 2009, has not entered the fray. On the other side, a few members of the Sena have opposed Mokate’s candidature. The sitting MLA has a stronghold in areas such as Kothrud gaothan, Popular Nagar, etc. while MNS’s Kishor Shinde is expected to dominate in Vanaz and Shastri Nagar areas.The BJP’s traditional voter base includes Karve Nagar, Paud Road, Dahanukar Colony, Mehendale Garage and Patwardhan Baug, touted to be key areas in this assembly elections. NCP’s Baburao Chandere has some presence in Baner and Balewadi areas, but it is not expected to affect the election results.

Kothrud map

Number of Voters 52,055

3,43,495 Total number of voters in the constituency

2014 candidates
Medha Kulkarni (BJP), Chandrakant Mokate (Shiv Sena), Kishor Shinde (MNS), Baburao Chandere (NCP), Umesh Kandhare (Congress)

Voters' voices

Poonam Gokhale  The newly elected MLA should be educated and capable enough to solve the issues faced by residents of this area. Problems related to traffic congestion, cleanliness and water shortage has to be dealt on priority.
- Poonam Gokhale, Director, Gokhale Constructions

 

Jayesh Prarjape  I expect the new government to focus on wildlife issues, as I feel this is one of the most ignored topics in the city, as well as the state. In addition, problems faced by pedestrians should be given priority. For example, the subways built in Kothrud area are not utilised properly and the elected representative should make sure that proper planning and execution should be done in these projects.
- Jayesh Prarjape, Founder, Western Routes

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