Mumbai North Central Lok Sabha seat is seeing a rematch of 2014 LS election between sitting MP Poonam Mahajan of the BJP and ex MP Priya Dutt of the Congress. Poonam Mahajan had swept away Priya Dutt in the LS 2014 election by 1.86 lakh votes (22% victory margin). Poonam Mahajan led in all the six assembly seats of Mumbai North Central LS seat. This fight is between daughters of two late prominent politicians but these are strong women candidates in their own right.
Mumbai North Central is a very challenging seat for the BJP due to the demography in this seat. This seat contains a huge minority population (muslim and christian) as well as a large number of scheduled caste voters. The assembly segments in this LS seat are,
- Vile Parle is a BJP bastion consisting of majority Marathi and Gujarati voters.
- Chandivali is a Congress bastion with a high muslim population and a huge slum area as well. On the other hand, this constituency contains posh areas like Hiranandani complex at Powai and other multi-storied residential areas like Nahar Amrit Shakti.
- Kurla is a SC reserved seat. BJP will depend upon Shiv Sena and RPI(A) for support in this area.
- Kalina is a mixed population area with huge population of Hindi speaking voters. Kripashankar Singh who is sidelined in Congress is said to be backing BJP covertly.
- Bandra East is a constituency dominated by the Shiv Sena followed by the Congress. This constituency contains the Sena Bhavan, Government colony as well as the Bandra Kurla complex and the large slum of Bharat Nagar.
- Bandra West is a posh constituency but contains slums as well. The BJP under MLA Ashish Shelar has dominated the constituency in recent years but the Congress has a huge base here.
The assembly seat wise results for the 2014 Vidhan Sabha elections are as follows,
The NDA parties won every seat apart from Chandivali which is represented by ex Congress state minister Arif Naseem Khan. The Congress was at its lowest ebb and lost much of its support base to BJP, Sena and AIMIM.
The voting history for the Mumbai North Central LS seat over the last four elections and the 2019 LS is shown below,
The BJP bastion of Vile Parle saw huge voting with 61.19% votes cast but the most number of votes were polled in the Congress bastion of Chandivali (1.88 lakh) albeit with a paltry 50.79% voting percentage. The other assembly segments saw voting percentages in the low to mid 50s.
The factors that would influence the result in the Mumbai North Central LS seat in the LS 2019 election are,
- BJP will attempt to take a big lead in the Vile Parle seat. This seat had given a lead of approx 80,000 to the BJP in the 2014 election and would be bettered this time.
- The BJP and Congress are evenly poised in Chandivali seat with the Congress getting votes in slums and muslim dominated areas, while the BJP will get votes in the high-rise societies in this area. Congress rebel had garnered approx 20,000 votes in the 2014 assembly election and had later joined the Shiv Sena. Given the good relations between the Thackeray and Mahajan family, the Sena seems to have worked for Poonam Mahajan here.
- Poonam Mahajan depends on Shiv Sena to get her votes in Bandra East in the areas of Kalanagar, government colony etc. The Congress took back Raja Rehbar Khan who had got approx 24,000 votes in the 2014 vidhan sabha election on an AIMIM ticket.
- Bandra West assembly will give a decent lead to Poonam Mahajan as the BJP MLA Ashish Shelar (also the BJP Mumbai chief) has maintained excellent relations with the Christian catholic community over there. Though it is likely that Priya Dutt would be able to increase her votes from here, but overall Poonam Mahajan would take a decent lead.
- Kalina would give a lead to the BJP as both Sena and BJP have increased their base here in the last few years. Sidelined Congress leader Kripashankar Singh does not have good relations with Priya Dutt and is rumoured to be supporting BJP covertly.
- Poonam Mahajan has done excellent work as a MP in the last five years. IN 2014, she depended on the Modi wave for a victory. But in 2019 she has her own work to show to the voters. Many muslim voters especially women might vote for her as he has been accessible to her voters.
- On the other hand, Priya Dutt was away from the ground for the last five years. She was sidelined in Mumbai Congress by Sanjay Nirupam, who enjoyed the support of Rahul Gandhi. She had announced that she would not be fighting the election as she wants to be with her growing kids. Later she relented to fight but it seems she might get another five-year break.
- The following is my result prediction for the Mumbai North Central seat based on the above factors and the past results (Lok Sabha, assembly, BMC polls).
Poonam Mahajan would emerge victorious with a slightly reduced margin of 1.68 lakh votes, as compared with 2014. Again a silent Modi tsunami and Poonam Mahajan’s own efforts of last five years can easily take the lead beyond 2 lakhs.