Lok Sabha polls 2014: In Sena vs Sena, Congress may emerge victorious

Mar 11, 2014, 07:48 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh and Varun Singh

Statistics say that Raj Thackeray’s decision, to put up MNS candidates in all three Lok Sabha constituencies where Shiv Sena is also in the fray, may ultimately benefit the Congress

Raj Thackeray’s head-on collision with the Shiv Sena in the city in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls may eventually see the Congress emerge as the winner. Thackeray announced that the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) would field three candidates — Bala Nandgaonkar (Mumbai South), Aditya Shirodkar (Mumbai South Central) and Mahesh Manjrekar (Mumbai North West) —against the Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant, Rahul Shewale and and Gajanan Kirtikar, respectively. MNS also said it would support Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Narendra Modi as PM candidate.

Raj Thackeray with the seven MNS candidates who will contest the Lok Sabha elections in the state. Pic/Rane Ashish

But if statistics are anything to go by, the MNS will end up eating into the votes that would’ve otherwise gone to the Mahayuti alliance, comprising BJP, Shiv Sena and other parties. According to votes polled in the 2009 general elections, Shiv Sena and the MNS together got more votes than the Congress for each of the above three seats. This means that if the two would have fought for the seat together, rather than each other, they would have won. So, the MNS, while supporting the BJP, is actually ending up hampering its chances.

The situation repeated itself in the state assembly polls in October 2009 as well. MNS managed to dent BJP-Shiv Sena vote shares. (See graphic for details).

Mumbai South

Sitting MP: Milind Deora (Congress)

Number of votes polled for Lok Sabha candidates in 2009: 6,41,571

Vote share
Congress: 42.6%
Shiv Sena + MNS: 47.68%

Number of votes

Milind Deora (Congress): 2,72,411
Bala Nandgaonkar (MNS): 1,59,721
Mohan Rawale (Shiv Sena): 1,46,108

Sitting MLAs
Annie Shekhar (Congress), Amin Patel (Congress), Mangal Prabhat Lodha (BJP), Sachin Ahir (NCP), Bala Nandgaonkar (MNS), Madhukar Chavan (Congress)

Total votes polled for Shiv Sena-BJP candidates: 2,44,539
Total votes polled for MNS candidates: 1,72,720

Mumbai South Central

Sitting MP: Eknath Gaikwad (Congress)

Number of votes polled for LS candidates in 2009: 6,85,022

Vote share
Congress: 43%
Shiv Sena + MNS: 48.45%

Number of votes
Eknath Gaikwad (Congress): 2,57,523
Suresh Gambhir (Shiv Sena): 1,81,17
Shweta Parulkar (MNS): 1,08,329

Sitting MLAs
Nitin Sardesai (MNS), Varsha Gaikwad (Congress), Jagannath Shetty (Congress), Kalidas Kolambkar (Congress), Chandrakant Handore (Congress), Nawab Malik (NCP)

Total votes polled for Shiv Sena-BJP MLA candidates: 1,86,352
Total votes polled for MNS MLA candidates: 1,39,754

Mumbai North West

Sitting MP: Gurudas Kamat (Congress)

Number of votes polled for LS candidates in 2009: 7,07,134

Vote share
Congress: 35.91%
Shiv Sena + MNS: 48.02%

Number of votes
Gurudas Kamat (Congress): 2,53,920
Gajanan Kirtikar (Shiv Sena): 2,15,533
Shalini Thackeray (MNS): 1,24,000

Sitting MLAs
Ashok Jadhav (Congress), Baldev Khosa (Congress), Suresh Shetty (Congress), Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena), Ravindra Waikar (Shiv Sena), Rajhans Singh (Congress)

Total votes polled for Shiv Sena-BJP MLA candidates: 2,85,090
Total votes polled for MNS MLA candidates: 1,45,270

Party speak
Both the Sena and the BJP are visibly rattled by the ambiguous nature of MNS’ strategy. Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said confusion is being created by Raj Thackeray and his party by extending support to Narendra Modi while contesting against its ally, the Shiv Sena.

A senior BJP leader said, “We are being cautious. To avoid confusion among voters, especially Marathi voters and our party men, we are working on a strategy. Our leaders will soon convene meetings of party workers at constituencies where MNS has decided to field its candidates. We will focus on Narendra Modi. We are going to appeal to people to vote for the alliance of BJP, Sena, RPI(A), Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and Rashtriya Samaj Paksh, if they want to see Modi as the next PM, instead of taking an indirect approach by voting for MNS candidates. It will not be practical to vote for MNS to realise the dream of seeing Modi as PM.” City BJP unit chief Ashish Shelar added, “Our views are clear. We are for the NDA and Narendra Modi.”

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