Saffron Brigade demolish Cong base in Mumbai

Saffron Brigade demolish Cong base in Mumbai

Sailing with the Narendra Modi wave, the BJP has demolished the voters’ base of the Congress party in Mumbai, the commercial capital of Maharashtra.

The BJP emerged as the top performer in the recently-held Assembly elections in Mumbai which sends 36 legislators to the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.

In these elections – the BJP won 15 seats and the Shiv Sena 14. The Congress could win just five seats and the NCP won no seats. In 2009, the BJP won only 5 seats and the Sena 4 seats while the Congress won 17 seats and the NCP three, respectively. The political game was different in 2009 as the Congress and NCP had an alliance, as did the Shiv Sena and BJP. Surprisingly, Raj Thackeray’s MNS which had half a dozen seats last time  did not win a single seat this time around.

The most prominent winner in Mumbai is the leader of the opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, the BJP’s Vinod Tawde  who won by a margin of over 70,000 votes. The prominent loser was the high-profile former Mumbai Congress president Kripashankar Singh, who is close to the Gandhi family.

In neighbouring Thane and Palghar districts, which has 24 seats, the BJP grabbed 10 seats, followed by the Shiv Sena with 8, NCP 4 and the Hitendra Thakur-led Bahujan Vikas Aghadi 2. Thakur won the prestigious Vasai seat defeating social activist and sitting MLA Vivek Pandit, who had the backing of the Sena as well as the BJP. Thakur’s son Kshitij Thakur won the neighbouring Nalasopara seat.

Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and parts of Raigad district face infrastructure bottlenecks – and people have put their faith in Modi’s development agenda. These areas also rejected the MNS brand of politics and the Shiv Sena could not cash in on its theory of a Gujarati-Marathi divide and allegations that BJP has designs to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra.

Despite its developmental activities - flyovers, mono rail, metro rail, expressways, high-speed links – the Congress could not do much in its stronghold of Mumbai. The BJP is now going to be working to fulfill its agenda of a “Congress-free” Mumbai, Thane and Palghar.

"People of Mumbai want change and they have faith in the policies of Modi," said Nilesh Sheth, a businessman.

"We have seen others for so many years, so why not change?" said Heeralal Patel, a chef. Raj Suri, a former tour guide, said that he has seen Mumbai changing over the years and how needs too have changed.

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