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Shiv Sena (UBT) has already lost, says Shewale

Updated on: 10 May,2024 07:58 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dipti Singh |

Two-time MP dismisses talk of former Shiv Sena colleague, Anil Desai, presenting tough challenge in South Central constituency

Shiv Sena (UBT) has already lost, says Shewale

Shinde Sena’s candidate Rahul Shewale during his rally at Antop Hill, on Wednesday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

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Shiv Sena (UBT) has already lost, says Shewale

The battle for supremacy in the Mumbai South Central Lok Sabha constituency, where Shiv Sena (UBT) and Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde) is locked in a direct fight, is intensifying as May 20, polling day, draws nearer. Shiv Sena’s Rahul Shewale, who has been representing the seat since 2014, is reportedly facing stiff competition from the Sena (UBT)’s Anil Desai, an assertion that the former has dismissed. Both candidates are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to secure victory in this crucial constituency.

Shewale, backed by the Mahayuti, is confident of retaining his seat. He highlights his track record of development projects and initiatives aimed at improving the lives of residents in Mumbai South Central. Shewale’s campaign focuses on issues such as infrastructure development, housing and employment generation.

Bringing the issue of redevelopment to the forefront, Shewale, addressed citizens during his rally on Wednesday evening. Beginning from the slums at Bharni Naka in Antop Hill, Shewale assured the residents that this would be the last time he was seeking votes in their slum homes; the next encounter would be in their flats in buildings. “People want their own homes, and that is our commitment to them. Redevelopment is on my priority list. There are numerous ongoing redevelopment projects, and the state government is actively engaging with the Centre on this issue. I have been a part of this process.”

Desai, a Rajya Sabha MP, is campaigning vigorously, leveraging his party's strong grassroots support. Desai promises to bring fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to address the challenges faced by the constituency. He emphasises the need for inclusive development and empowerment of all sections of society.

‘He’s from the office’

The electoral battle between the Shinde group and Uddhav Sena has also sparked debates and discussions among political analysts and the electorate alike. While some believe that Shewale’s track record will secure him another term, others see Desai as a formidable challenger who could upset the status quo.

However, Shewale has openly expressed confidence in his victory. He directly challenges his rival, Desai, labelling him as an outsider who has never set foot in the constituency before. “There is a stark difference between me and my rival. He (Anil Desai) has no contributions or work to show in this constituency. I have worked on the ground for years. I am a person from the field, he is from the office. I am a resident of this constituency and was born in Dharavi, which is part of this constituency; he is an outsider. I have worked very hard in this constituency for the past 10 years as the MP and even before that, so I have full support from the citizens. This will work in my favour.”

Asked about the Shiv Sena versus Shiv Sena contest and his strategy to tackle it, Shewale said, “There is no specific strategy to address the other faction. It is very simple: we are Shiv Sainiks holding strong and preserving Balasaheb Thackeray’s legacy and beliefs. To uphold the dreams and legacy of Shiv Sena Pramukh Balasaheb, we have aligned with Eknath Shinde Saheb. In contrast, others have departed from the Shiv Sena pramukh’s principles and beliefs. Citizens have noticed this, and they have discerned which is the real Shiv Sena. The latest example of this is when we all paid homage to Swatantryaveer Savarkar’s memorial after filing nomination forms, while they never visited the memorial out of fear of Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party. This is where they have already lost; they have already faced defeat.”

Shewale dismisses the Gujarati versus Marathi debate as a ploy by Sena (UBT) to obfuscate their lack of developmental achievements, asserting that they resort to such tactics as they have fallen short of development work to show. “It has become evident to them that they are unlikely to win, hence they are resorting to bringing up such non-issues to create rifts between different communities in the hope of securing a certain vote bank. However, their attempts are unlikely to succeed,” he said.

The Muslim vote

Shewale also expresses confidence about garnering Muslim votes in the constituency. “They will vote for development. I have stood by them throughout, so there is no reason they would not support me. I have worked diligently for the Muslim community as much as I have for other communities in the constituency.”

May 20
Day Mumbai goes to the polls

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