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Mumbai: The two underdogs who snatched strongholds from sitting MPs

Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant and BJP’s Poonam Mahajan defeated sitting two-time MPs Milind Deora and Priya Dutt respectively by huge margins

Two Incumbent MPs received a shock when they were defeated by a huge margin of votes from first-time challengers in the two constituencies.

India 'Modi'fied: In-depth coverage of election results 2014

Poonam Mahajan of BJP got more votes this time than Congress MP Priya Dutt managed in her win in the 2009 elections. Pic/Shadab Khan
Poonam Mahajan of BJP got more votes this time than Congress MP Priya Dutt managed in her win in the 2009 elections. Pic/Shadab Khan

Milind Deora and Priya Dutt, both two-time MPs from the Congress, lost by a margin of more than 1.5 lakh votes to Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant and BJP’s Poonam Mahajan.

Arvind Sawant is the first Marathi MP to be elected from Mumbai South after 52 years. S K Patil was the last Maharashtrian MP, elected to the seat in 1962. Pic/Emmanual Karbhari
Arvind Sawant is the first Marathi MP to be elected from Mumbai South after 52 years. S K Patil was the last Maharashtrian MP, elected to the seat in 1962. Pic/Emmanual Karbhari

While Sawant is now the MP of Mumbai South, Poonam Mahajan finds herself in-charge of the Mumbai North Central constituency.

While a large part of their victory can be attribute to the Modi factor, there are some other reasons that contributed to their wins as well. People who earlier voted for Dutt and Deora switched camps this time around.

The north Indians
An approximate estimate puts the number of north Indians in Mumbai North Central Dutt’s constituency at 28 per cent of the voting population. Infighting between north Indian leaders in the Congress like Kripashankar Singh and Arif Naseem Khan worked against Dutt.

A large portion of these voters chose Mahajan, who defeated Dutt by a 1.86 lakh votes. This is the first time Dutt has lost the seat, which was earlier held by her father, late actor Sunil Dutt. Samajwadi Party’s Farhan Azmi, too, expected to get a large portion of Muslim votes, but Mahajan’s tally of 4,78,535 votes show that the minority community also went with her. Azmi received a mere 9,873 votes.

Mahajan won more votes in this election than Dutt managed in her 2009 win — the latter got 3.49 lakh votes then. The newly elected MP also benefitted from the fact that MNS didn’t contest this seat; last year, MNS’ Shilpa Sarpotdar had received 1.20 lakh votes in 2009.

Mumbai South has always elected a non-Marathi MP, be it Jaywantiben Mehta, George Fernandes or Deora. Deora lost by more than 1.5 lakh votes to Sawant, who becomes the first Maharashtrian MP from Mumbai south after S K Patil, who was elected in 1962.

With the Gujarati and Marwari businessmen and industrialists vying for Modi as the PM, Sawant became the natural choice for them as MP.

MNS’s Bala Nandgaonkar, who had got nearly 1.5 lakh votes in the 2009 general elections, managed only 78,857 votes this time.

Marathi voters seem to have chosen the Sena over MNS this time, even though the latter counted Parel, Sewri and Mazgaon as his strongholds.

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