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Lok Sabha elections 2024: Battle for Super Six

Updated on: 06 May,2024 07:08 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dipti Singh , Prajakta Kasale |

mid-day takes a look at the six battlegrounds where fortunes are made and legacies are forged

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Battle for Super Six

Representation Pic

The war cry has been sounded in Mumbai’s six parliamentary constituencies, half of which will see the Shiv Sena factions led by Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray vying for victory. Two other seats will witness clashes between traditional rivals, the BJP and Congress, while in one seat, the Sena (UBT) and BJP will face off. Mumbai city is home to 24.59 lakh voters, while the suburbs have 74 lakh registered voters this year. The six constituencies—Mumbai South, South Central, North, North Central, North East and North West—are among the 13 across the state that are scheduled to go to polls in the fifth and final phase on May 20.


Political landscape
The Andheri, Versova, Jogeshwari and Goregaon areas come under this constituency and they have sizable populations of Marathi and Gujarati speakers as well as North and South Indians and Muslims in a few pockets. Though Sena (UBT) candidate Amol Kirtikar may get the support of Uddhav Thackeray supporters, he won’t get support from BJP votes like his father. On the other hand, Sena candidate Ravindra Waikar may face issues if sympathy for Thackeray is strong.

Previous victors
In 2019, Gajanan Kirtikar of the united Shiv Sena secured 5.70 lakh votes, beating Congress’s Sanjay Nirupam, who got 3.09 lakh votes. In the previous election, Kirtikar had won with 4.64 lakh votes while Gurudas Kamat of Congress had bagged 2.81 lakh votes.

Constituency and concerns
The area has residential and commercial zones. While Metro lines have helped decongest the Western Express Highway as well as S V Road and Linking Road, traffic is a major issue. As a large number of residential buildings are coming up, water and sewerage lines are under pressure. Crowding of local trains is another sore point.

Amol Kirtikar
Though his father, Gajanan Kirtikar, chose to join the Shinde Sena after the party’s split, Amol remains a close aide of Uddhav Thackeray. Within two hours of announcing his candidature, Amol received a notice from the Enforcement Directorate over the alleged ‘khichdi scam’ during the pandemic.

Ravindra Waikar
Another senior leader who switched sides from Thackeray to Shinde recently, he was chosen to contest from the seat. Earlier, the Mahayuti tried to convince Gajanan Kirtikar to be its candidate. Though he refused to contest against his son, he agreed to campaign for the Mahayuti candidate. Waikar, a four-time corporator and MLA has a few days left for campaigning.


Political Landscape
This constituency, home to approximately 16 lakh voters, spans the Borivli, Dahisar, Magathane, Kandivli East, Charkop and Malad West Assembly segments. Historically, the BJP has held a firm grip on this Lok Sabha seat, with its stalwart Ram Naik securing victory five times. However, the BJP faced stiff competition from actor Govinda, who represented Congress at one point. Subsequently, Sanjay Nirupam also clinched victory for Congress, but suffered a defeat in 2014 amidst what BJP leaders attributed to a ‘Modi wave’.

Previous victors
In 2014, BJP’s Gopal Shetty triumphed over Nirupam by a significant margin. The former secured 6,64,004 votes as opposed to Nirupam’s 2,17,422. The scenario remained almost identical in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, with Shetty winning the seat with a 71.40 per cent vote share, while Congress’s Urmila Matondkar secured only 24.39 per cent of the votes.

Constituency and concerns
Of the six Assembly seats in Mumbai North, five are held by the ruling alliance, while only Malad West is with Congress. Approximately 3.7 per cent of the population in this constituency belongs to the SC category, with one per cent classified as ST. In the 2019 elections, there were 16.47 lakh eligible voters in this seat.

Issues in the constituency, range from demands for open spaces and mobility to complaints about congestion and traffic. One of the most pressing concerns likely to sway voters is the matter of mobility, as highlighted by local activists.

Piyush Goyal, BJP
Goyal is a chartered accountant and second-generation BJP leader with a robust political background. His father was a union minister in the Vajpayee cabinet, and his mother an MLA from Matunga. He has been serving as a Union minister of commerce. Goyal, a Rajya Sabha MP since 2010, is contesting a direct election for the first time. Yet, political observers anticipate a smooth victory for him, given that Mumbai North is a BJP stronghold with a significant presence of Gujarati, Marwadi and Marathi-speaking populations, who are staunch supporters of the saffron party.

Bhushan Patil, Congress
The Mumbai Congress vice-president is a relative newcomer to electoral politics. He unsuccessfully contested Assembly elections from Borivli. Patil, who is in the real estate business, is confident that his local roots and identity as a grassroots party worker in the region will work in his favour. Congress delayed announcing its candidate for this seat as it sought a strong contender to counter Goyal. Sources reveal that two weeks ago, the party even approached Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Vinod Ghosalkar, a well-known and seasoned politician from the region, to contest this seat on Congress’s symbol, an offer which he declined. Many speculate that Ghosalkar is still grappling with the untimely death of his son in February this year.


Political landscape
From 1952 to 1967, this seat remained with the Congress. However, the pattern shifted when George Fernandes, representing the United Socialist Party, secured victory in the 1967 elections. In 1971, the seat reverted to Congress. Subsequently, from 1977 to 1984, it was held by the Janata Party’s Ratansinh Rajda. From 1984 to 1996, Congress’s Murli Deora held sway over the constituency. His dominance was briefly interrupted by BJP’s Jayawantiben Mehta in 1996, but Murli Deora reclaimed the seat in 1998. In 1999, Jayawantiben Mehta regained victory. However, in 2004, Murli Deora’s son, Milind Deora, secured the seat from Mehta, representing the Congress. Milind Deora retained the seat in 2009 before ceding it to the undivided Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant in 2014.

Previous victors
In 2014, Sawant defeated Deora by 1,28,564 votes. In 2019, Sawant retained the seat, securing 4,21,937 votes, while Deora finished in second place with 3,21,870 votes.

Constituency and concerns
From Mantralaya and legislative buildings to the headquarters of major industries and companies, everything is located in this region. This area is also home to the majority of affluent industrialists and personalities in the country. However, areas like Parel-Lalbaug, Chinchpokli, Byculla, Lower Parel, and even Worli Koliwada are also part of this constituency. The South Mumbai Lok Sabha constituency includes six Assembly constituencies: Worli, Sewri, Byculla, Malabar Hill, Mumbadevi, and Colaba.

The Mumbai South constituency encompasses a diverse population:  a strong trader community of Jains and Marwaris, and a considerable number of Muslims from Byculla and nearby areas, a spread of the elite and the middle class. The issues in the constituency range from air and dust pollution to the lack of toilets in slum pockets.

Residents from high-profile areas claim that their lives have undergone drastic changes in recent years due to the extensive construction work. They have voiced concerns about air and dust pollution, as well as an increase in insects they have never seen before. Despite investing crores in their homes to reside in luxurious and tranquil areas, they lament that their surroundings have become as noisy as “Dadar and Lalbaug”.

The constituency also comprises considerable slum pockets, such as those in Colaba, Kalachowkie, Sewri, Parel and Umerkhadi. Many residents in these areas complain about the lack of proper sanitary facilities and toilets.

Arvind Sawant, Sena (UBT)
From a former government employee to two-time MP, this trusted aide of Uddhav Thackeray was also a Union minister. Hailing from a middle-class family, Sawant used to work with MTNL. He was instrumental in forming the Shiv Sena’s union in MTNL in the early 1990s. He quit the job later that decade to join politics.

Considered as a good orator, Sawant became a member of the Legislative Council in 2002. He used to raise the issues related to slum development in Mumbai, houses to mill workers as well as prominence to Marathi language in the government functioning. Sawant was Thackeray’s unanimous choice in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. He was considered a weak candidate in front of Congress’s Milind Deora, yet he not only emerged the winner in 2014 but retained the seat in 2019.

Yamini Jadhav, Shiv Sena
The incumbent MLA from Byculla was among the 39 legislators who pledged support to Eknath Shinde when he revolted against Uddhav Thackeray in June 2022. Jadhav has been picked after much deliberations with the party considering various names including Milind Deora, and the BJP evincing interest in putting up a candidate from the seat. The names of Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar and of BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha were also being touted as prospective candidates in case Shinde acceded to the BJP’s demand to hand over the seat. The Shinde Sena had, however, been insistent that it would contest the seat. Jadhav, 56, is a first-time MLA and is a former corporator. She is the wife of former standing committee chairman of the BMC Yashwant Jadhav. The couple had faced corruption charges levelled against them by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya.


Political landscape
Upper and lower-middle-class Marathi and Gujarati speakers reside in Mulund, Bhandup and Vikhroli, which are considered BJP/Sena vote banks. After the split in Sena, it will be interesting to watch the dynamics of voters. Muslim and socially deprived voters will also be a keypoint in this area. Out of six Assembly seats, three are with BJP, two are with Sena (UBT) and one with Samajwadi Party. Recently, the BJP candidate Mihir Kotecha alleged that his rally was attacked by goons in Mankhurd.

Previous victors
In 2014, BJP’s Kirit Somaiya’s emerged as the winner, beating NCP candidate Sanjay Dina Patil by 3.17 lakh votes. In 2019, Manoj Kotak of the BJP defeated the latter by 2.26 lakh votes. 

Constituency and concerns
It is largely a residential area and the redevelopment of old buildings in Mulund is a popular demand. Also, providing infrastructure for slums in Bhandup and the hugely congested population in Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar are big challenges. Locals have opposed the planned rehabilitation of slum dwellers from Dharavi. Crowded local trains are another sore point.

Sanjay Dina Patil Sena (UBT)
He was elected to the state Assembly in 2004 from Bhandup. A son of Dina Patil, a firebrand trade unionist, he was elected from the constituency in 2009 on an NCP ticket and then lost in 2014 and 2019. Now he is contesting the seat from Sena (UBT) and has the support of the Congress and NCP (SP). He may get some support from Marathi voters as well as Muslims and Dalits from Mankhurd, Govandi.

Mihir Kotecha, BJP
His name was announced by the BJP in its first list of Maharashtra candidates in March. He is an MLA from Mulund and the BJP’s state treasurer. Being a businessman with over two decades of political experience, he knows the constituency very well. He will gain votes in the upper-middle-class areas of Ghatkopar and Mulund but may face challenges in Mankhurd, Bhandup and Vikhroli.  


Political landscape
From 1952 to 1989, this Lok Sabha seat saw different parties winning, like the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). In 1984, an independent candidate won, which was unusual. But after that, the political situation changed a lot.

Manohar Joshi, a famous leader from Shiv Sena, represented this area from 1989 to 2009. Shiv Sena was very strong during this time, and Mohan Rawale won five times in a row. However, in 2009, Congress won the seat back.

The political pendulum swung once more in the Modi wave of 2014, returning the seat to the Shiv Sena’s fold, then in alliance with the BJP. This pattern underscores the dynamic nature of electoral politics in Mumbai South Central, characterised by alternating periods of dominance by different parties.

South Central Mumbai comprises predominantly Marathi-speaking areas like Dadar, Mahim, Sion, along with Dharavi and adjacent regions with a significant Dalit voter base. These demographics play a crucial role in shaping electoral outcomes and influencing political strategies.

Coalition politics has been instrumental in shaping the electoral landscape of Mumbai South Central. Alliances between parties at the state and national levels have had a significant impact on voter behaviour and electoral outcomes. The ever-changing dynamics of alliances and realignments reflect the complexity of political engagement in the constituency.

Previous victors
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Shewale of the Shiv Sena (undivided) emerged victorious in this seat, securing 381,008 votes. Eknath M Gaikwad of the Congress came in second with 242,828 votes. In the subsequent 2019 elections, Shewale retained the seat for the Shiv Sena, garnering 424,913 votes and defeating Gaikwad once again. 

Constituency and concerns
Mumbai South Central has undergone demographic changes over the years due to urbanisation and industrialisation. It comprises a mix of urban, suburban, and industrial areas, including neighbourhoods like Parel, Worli, Dharavi, Sion, and Chembur.

The constituency encompasses a diverse range of neighbourhoods, each with its own set of issues and concerns. However, some common themes and challenges affecting residents across the constituency include challenges related to inadequate infrastructure, including roads, public transportation, and sanitation facilities. Residents often grapple with issues such as potholed roads, traffic congestion, and insufficient public transport options, which impact daily commutes and quality of life.

Mumbai South Central is home to several slum clusters and low-income neighbourhoods where housing conditions are often substandard. Pollution, including air and water pollution, is a significant issue in parts of Mumbai South Central, particularly in industrial and densely populated areas.

Rahul Shewale, Shiv Sena
Shewale’s political journey commenced in grassroots activism, where he fervently championed various causes at the local level, with a particular emphasis on issues pertaining to urban development, infrastructure, and the welfare of marginalised communities. His prominence soared when he contested and triumphed in the Lok Sabha seat from the Mumbai South Central constituency in the 2014 general elections, defeating senior Congress leader Eknath Gaikwad. Ever since, Shewale has been the steadfast representative of the constituency in the Lok Sabha, vocalising the concerns of his constituents and advocating for the amelioration of pressing issues, including the enhancement of basic amenities, infrastructure development, and urban renewal projects. His alignment with Shinde may indicate a strategic move to leverage Shinde’s political network and resources in advancing his own ambitions and agenda.

Anil Desai, Shiv Sena (UBT)
On the other hand, the Shiv Sena (UBT) has fielded Anil Desai, a seasoned politician and a prominent leader, to contest against Shewale. Desai’s political journey spans several decades, marked by his grassroots activism and his adeptness in forging connections with voters at the grassroots level. His pivotal role within the Shiv Sena ranks is underscored by his election as a Member of the Rajya Sabha, representing Maharashtra. As a close confidant of Uddhav Thackeray, Desai’s decision to vie for the Mumbai South Central seat reflects the determined efforts of his faction to wrest the seat from turncoat Shewale, who secured victory twice under the undivided Shiv Sena. This electoral contest symbolises the faction’s fervent endeavour to reclaim its stronghold in the constituency. 


Political landscape
Out of six Assembly segments, two are with BJP and Shiv Sena each while the rest are with the Sena (UBT) and Congress. Varsha Gaikwad, the Congress candidate, wasn’t ready initially to contest from this seat, where anti-incumbency is said to be high. The BJP took its time before giving a ticket to advocate-turned-politician Ujjwal Nikam after at least three MLAs turned down the offer to contest the seat. 

Previous victors
In 2014, the BJP candidate Poonam Mahajan secured 4.78 lakh votes, beating Congress’s Priya Dutt of Congress by 1.87 lakh votes. In 2019, the former defeated the latter again, this time by 1.31 lakh votes.

Constituency and concerns
The belt from Bandra West to Vile Parle West is where celebrities and businessmen stay while Kurla, Kalina, Bandra East and Chandivli mostly comprise a slum belt. Kalina and Chandivli need an infrastructure boost, including wide roads, better solid waste management, open spaces etc. Traffic and unauthorised hawkers are major issues in the Bandra-Santacruz belt.

Varsha Gaikwad, Congress
The MLA and president of Mumbai Congress has finally agreed to contest from the seat which was not her original choice. She wanted to contest from South Central, an area that is known to her. But after her candidacy was announced, she started campaigning wholeheartedly. She will gain support from lower-class voters, who are a major chunk of the electorate but will face challenges when it comes to high-class electors, who traditionally vote for the BJP.

Ujjwal Nikam, BJP
He has handled several high-profile cases including that of terrorist Ajmal Kasab. His name was declared at the last minute. The candidate has no political baggage and may receive support from the BJP’s vote bank. He has no experience when it comes to campaigning and may face challenges wooing slum dwellers.

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