Shiv Sena challenges Thakur dominance in Maha's Vasai

Last Updated 11 May 2020, 12:47 IST

The influential Thakur family is facing the biggest challenge in three decades. The Shiv Sena is putting up a big fight, taking on Vasai MLA Hitendra Thakur, the founder of Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) and his son and Nalasopara MLA Kshitij Thakur.

The Thakur family has been ruling the Vasai-Virar urban conglomeration, nearly 60 kms off Mumbai, for the last three decades.

The Shiv Sena has put up Vijay Patil, a former Congressman against Hitendra Thakur, while former cop and encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma against Kshitij. On the other hand, Boisar sitting BVA MLA Vilas Tare had joined the Shiv Sena and has now been pitted against former party colleague Rajesh Patil.

The Palghar district and Lok Sabha seat comprises of Vasai and Nalasopara and four tribal-reserved seats of Boisar, Palghar, Dahanu and Vikramgad.

In Palghar, the Shiv Sena has fileded Srinivas Vanga, the son of late Palghar BJP MP Chintaman Vanga, against NCP's Amit Ghoda.

"Vasai-Nalasopara-Virar needs infrastracture upgradation. It needs to be at par with Mumbai. In fact, it is the fastest growing suburb. In last few years, we have seen good development," says Subrato Das, a local activist. "There are issues like waterlogging during monsoon," said Kalyan, a local resident.

The politics in Vasai took a turn in 2018 when Vanga, the sitting BJP MP, passed away. In 2014, he had defeated BVA's Baliram Jadhav. But, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray inducted Vanga's son Srinivas and put up his candidature in bypolls to the BJP's surprise. Since it was a matter of prestige for the saffron party, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave a ticket to former Congress minister Rajendra Gavit to ensure defeat of Srinivas Vanga. The Uddhav-Devendra war of words soured the relationship of two parties. But before Lok Sabha polls, the BJP gave the seat to Sena and also sent Gavit to Uddhav's fold, who won the 2019 polls.

"Now Sena's influence in the region has increased and it is giving a challenge to the BVA. Bringing in Pradeep Sharma against the Thakurs is indicative that the BJP-Sena now wants a control of the Vasai tehsil that has never been a forte of mainstream parties in three decades," a senior leader said.

"People are with us, we have our work to show," says Kshitij, whose party controls the Vasai-Virar City Municipal Corporation.

"Vasai region needs proper development, it gets flooded several times every monsoon...the region has been ignored...unfortunately, people associated with underworld entered public life and created a mess," Sharma added.

(Published 12 October 2019, 03:04 IST)

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