The Mumbai North East seat saw a fight between Manoj Kotak of the BJP and Sanjay Dina Patil of the NCP. Manoj Kotak a sitting corporator from Mulund was made the BJP candidate after the Shiv Sena objected to Kirit Somaiya being given the candidature. This was based on the bitterness of last five years between the BJP and Shiv Sena where Somaiya had taken on Raut. Somaiya took the party decision gracefully and supported Manoj Kotak.
Like most Lok Sabha constituencies in Mumbai, the Mumbai North East constituency is a natural BJP+Sena leaning constituency. BJP has 3 MLAs in Mumbai North East while the Shiv Sena has 2 MLAs. The remaining MLA from Mankhurd-Shivajinagar is Abu Asim Azmi of the Samajwadi party. The constituencies of Mulund, Ghatkopar East and Ghatkopar West are BJP bastions while Bhandup West and Vikhroli are Sena bastions. Mankhurd Shivajinagar is a muslim and dalit dominated constituency where NCP can expect a good lead, but they face competition from Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi of Prakash Ambedkar.
Let us look at the assembly seat voting details for Mumbai North East along with the voting history of last four elections,
Heavy voting has happened in the BJP strongholds of Mulund, Ghatkopar East and Ghatkopar West as well as in the Sena bastion of Bhandup West and Vikhroli. In contrast the NCP’s hope of Mankhurd has reported a dismal 47.08% polling percentage. Sanjay Dina Patil hopes to get votes from Bhandup as well, mostly from the aagri community to which he belongs. MNS has some influence in Bhandup and Vikhroli and that could help get some votes for NCP. But the VBA could eat some minority votes in Mankhurd to the detriment of the NCP. So an easy BJP victory looks likely from Mumbai North East.
The following points could determine the victory margin of BJP in Mumbai North East Lok Sabha constituency,
- Mulund assembly segment has always been a BJP stronghold with BJP winning the MLA seat and all the corporator seats in the last few elections. BJP will easily get a lead of 1.10 lakh odd from Mulund.
- Bhandup West is a Shiv Sena bastion but BJP has made a lot of inroads in this constituency in the last vidhan sabha and BMC election. Lot of upper middle class Marathi people in this constituency were moving towards the BJP, even before the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance was finalised this time. Manoj Kotak had fought the last assembly election from Bhandup and lost to the Sena candidate by 5000 votes. There is a major demographic change in Bhandup West with a lot of highrise apartments coming up especially along the LBS Road. This helps the BJP.
- There is 66,000 Gujarati speaking voters in Ghatkopar East and this gives a big advantage to BJP in this constituency.
- BJP also has a big advantage in Ghatkopar West constituency as their MLA Ram Kadam is very popular and this can ensure a decent lead for the BJP.
- The Vikhroli seat is a Sena dominated seat with the NCP, MNS and RPI(A) also have some influence of their own. The Sena MLA in Vikhroli is Sunil Raut, the brother of Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut. There is talk of some sabotage by Sena candidate and leaders in Vikhroli. This might reduce the overall BJP lead.
- Mankhurd-Shivajinagar was supposed to give a huge lead to the NCP but the voting percentage has been 47.08%. Plus the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi candidate will hurt the NCP on this seat.
- Apart from the constituency wise factors, two new metro lines are being built in this constituency. One connecting Vikhroli to the Western suburb of Jogeshwari and Versova, while the other between GPO (neat CST) to Thane passing through almost all constituencies of Mumbai North East. Such large infra projects help BJP gain voters all across Mumbai.
In conclusion, my projection for the victory margin for BJP’s Manoj Kotak is as follows,
My prediction is that Manoj Kotak of the BJP to win the Mumbai North East Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 3.1 lakh votes.
Check my predictions for other Mumbai seats,