As the party is set to fight for the Vandre East seat in the by-polls, a leader says Congress candidate Narayan Rane doesn’t stand a chance
For the Shiv Sena, contesting the Vandre East by-polls is a matter of prestige. While it is fighting to retain the seat vacated by the death of Prakash (Bala) Sawant, their candidate will stand against former sainik and now Congress candidate Narayan Rane for the April 11 polls.
Trupti Sawant, Shiv Sena candidate, filed her nomination on Monday. File Pic/PTI
But the new threat is the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which came third last time. The Sena has made the by-poll an emotional affair in trying to gain sympathy by fielding Trupti Bala Sawant, wife of the deceased MLA.
Shiv Sena leader Arvind Bhosale, the man who is now using foot wear after nine years as he had pledged to wear shoes only post Rane’s defeat, has once again taken the same pledge.
The Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) was in the second place in the previous elections. This time, it has announced that it will support the Sena unconditionally in the by-polls. The seat is also important for Sena as it is the constituency where the Thackerays reside. This is also another reason why the Shiv Sena is putting in 100 per cent to win this seat.
The polls are also being seen as a litmus test for two former sainiks. While Narayan Rane is the candidate, former Member of Parliament Sanjay Nirupam has taken over charge as Mumbai Congress president and this is the first election since he took over the post.
While Congress sources claim that their calculations show that they have an edge, the Shiv Sena is not ready to accept that they consider the Congress as a threat. “For us, the real threat is MIM, which last time had come third. It’s a given that we will win and Congress doesn’t even stand a chance.
To bring down both Nirupam and Rane, the Congress gave the ticket to Rane. Everyone knows he will lose, and by this, two who left Sena will be shown their place within the Congress, by their own men,” said Bhosale, who is the spokesperson of the party. This time also, MIM has fielded Siraj Khan.
However, a senior Congress functionary claimed that the party’s vote bank is intact in the constituency, and with a big name like Rane, the vote share will increase. In the 2014 October polls, Rane contested from Malwan in Konkan and lost to Sena’s Vaibhav Naik.
This was the first time Rane had lost an election. After the loss, Rane was asked by Congress to contest elections from Vandre East, which will see counting on April 15.
As per the October 2014 result:
Prakash (Bala) Sawant, Shiv Sena: 41,388 votes
Krishna Parkar, BJP: 25,791 votes
Siraj R Khan, MIM: 23,976 votes
Sanjeev Bagadi, Congress: 12,229 votes
The victory margin was 15,597
Over 200 give up foot wear
Bhosale says there are 254 polling stations and in every one at least one person has given up wearing shoes till April 15, when the results will be announced. As per the last figures, there are 2.64 lakh voters, of which, 1.45 lakh are males, and 1.18 lakh are females. Others are five.