Twenty-five takeaways from the Lok Sabha 2019 results in Mumbai and the likely impact on the upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections.
23rd May 2019 delivered a historic mandate for India. After decades, a prime minister has been re-elected with a full majority of his own. BJP got 303 seats of their own in the Lok Sabha 2019. NDA won forty-one out of the forty-eight in Maharashtra. The NDA swept all the six seats of Mumbai again in 2019. Old Congress dynasties like the Dutts, Deoras, Patils (Congress-NCP lineage) and Gaekwads were defeated for the second consecutive time in Mumbai. Though it is likely that dynastic leaders will fight elections again in the future, but the voters seem to indicate that politics of privilege has got to end.
Mumbai voting percentage has kept on increasing after the abysmal voting in 2009. This has helped the NDA in 2014 and again in 2019.
Following are the 25 takeaways from the Lok Sabha results in Mumbai,
- The voters of Mumbai were part of the Modi craze that had spread across the country. Traditionally apathetic voters of Mumbai voted in huge numbers. The voting percentages in the Mumbai Lok sabha constituencies increased by 2-6%, except Mumbai South where the voting percentage dropped by 1%
- The voting percentage has kept on increasing in each election (Lok Sabha or assembly) since 2009. The BJP and Shiv Sena have been able to get their voters out in each election starting 2014. Seems the NDA parties have learnt their lessons from the poor voting percentages of 2009. The 2014 assembly election was different where BJP and Shiv Sena fought against each other. Both these parties eclipsed Congress in that election. Their coming together has enhanced the strength of the NDA.
- The NDA parties are attracting Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada and Hindi speaking voters towards it since 2014. The craze for Prime Minister Modi has played a huge role in this regard. The NDA leaning voters came out in huge numbers resulting in huge queues at the polling stations in areas like Borivali, Ghatkopar East, Vile Parle, Mulund and Jogeshwari East etc.
- NDA was leading in 31 out of the 36 assembly constituencies of Mumbai, as per the trends of the Lok Sabha 2019 election. These are bad omens for the Congress as it is likely to win only 3-4 seats in the Maharashtra vidhan sabha election in October 2019, going by these trends. The Maharashtra vidhan sabha election is so close the the Lok Sabha, that the Lok Sabha result invariably affects the Vidhan sabha result.
- The BJP’s Gopal Shetty won with a margin of 4.65 lakh in the Mumbai North Lok Sabha seat, over his Congress rival Urmila Matondkar. Shetty has bettered his victory margin of 4.45 lakh of 2014 over Sanjay Nirupam of the Congress.
- Most of the Marathi media had gone mad by predicting that Urmila was giving a tough fight in Mumbai North, when in reality she was a last-minute candidate put up by Congress to save their face. Congress had tried to give Mumbai North seat to NCP and even Samajwadi party, who sensibly refused it.
- The BJP led in Borivali by a margin of 1.18 lakh votes, by 80,000 in Dahisar, Magathane and Kandivali East each and 95,000 in Charkop. The BJP even led by 20,000 votes in Malad assembly seat which is help by Congress. Thus, Congress MLA from Malad Aslam Shaikh faces the prospect of losing the seat in coming assembly election in October.
- The huge victory margin of 1.18 lakh in Borivali means that BJP MLA and state education minister Vinod Tawde would win the Borivali assembly seat in the 2019 assembly election by the biggest victory margin in the state. In 2014, Tawde had won with a margin of 79,000 votes with the Sena contesting seperately and garnering 29,000 votes. The highest victory margin of 2014 was by Ajit Pawar in Baramati of 89,000 votes. With the BJP and Shiv Sena fighting together in the upcoming assembly elections, the victory margin would easily cross 1.10 lakh votes for Vinod Tawde.
- Sanjay Nirupam himself tried to fight against a non BJP candidate in Mumbai North West LS seat. But he got the wrong end of the stick again when the voters rejected him by 2.6 lakh votes. Nirupam was defeated by Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar. Gajanan Kirtikar is Sena’s white-collar face. He used to work in the Reserve Bank of India and was a part of Sena’s Sthanik Lokadhikar Samiti (union fighting for jobs for Marathis from 1970s). Nirupam lost the Mumbai Congress chief post as well as lost a second consecutive Lok Sabha election.
- The Shiv Sena led in all the seats of Mumbai North West constituency. Looks likely that the NDA will win the six assembly seats of Goregaon, Jogeshwari, Dindoshi, Versova, Andheri East and Andheri West.
- Congress is the new Muslim League in Mumbai. Congress has got good number of votes in assembly constituencies where muslim voters are in majority. Assembly segments like Malad, Mumbadevi, Byculla, Bandra East, Mankhurd gave large nmber of votes to the Congress and NCP candidates. Congress is also getting the bulk of Christian votes in Mumbai, though BJP has made a dent there. No Hindu caste or linguistic group is voting for the Congress in Mumbai.
- Poonam Mahajan has established herself as a leader in Mumbai after beating Priya Dutt for a second time in Mumbai North Central. This is the most difficult seat for the BJP in Mumbai, based on the demographics. But Poonam Mahajan has established good contact with her constituents and has won over some of the Muslim women voters too. Priya Dutt was reluctant to fight the Lok Sabha election as she was away from the ground after 2014. After this defeat, Priya Dutt does get time with her growing kids, as she had initially said when asking to be excused from the election.
- The Congress led by a small lead of 1,500 votes in Bandra East. This is interesting as Shiv Sena holds this seat in this assembly constituency that contains the Matoshree residence of the Thackerays. The Congress has a chance of winning this seat in the assembly elections, if AIMIM does not play spoil sport.
- The BJP led in Chandivali by a margin of 26,000 votes which is a significant result, as this seat is held by Congress leader Arif Naseem Khan. BJP has been able to get the voters from highrise complexes to vote. This sets up an exciting battle in the October assembly elections as Naseem Khan risks losing this election.
- Arvind Sawant is indeed one very lucky chap. He was in trouble during the election campaign, as the BJP voters like marwaris and Jains in Malabar Hill and Colaba were angry with him. It was feared that they might not turn out to vote or may in fact vote for the Congress’s Milind Deora. Deora got big businessmen like Mukesh Ambani to appeal the voters in his favour. But Prime Minister Modi’s appeal that every vote cast for NDA candidate accrues directly to him helped Sawant. BJP MLA in Malabar Hill Mangalprabhat Lodha campaigned much more for Sawant, than Sawant personally did for himself. Arvind Sawant won by a reduced 1 lakh vote margin.
- Since Sena stalwarts and central minister aspirants Anant Geete, Chandrakant Khaire, Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil and Anandrao Adsul lost the Lok Sabha election, the beneficiary of this was Arvind Sawant. The MTNL union leader became a central cabinet minister for the “Heavy Industry” portfolio. BJP always gives this portfolio to the Sena ministers, right from 1999.
- The Sena led in Worli, Colaba, Malabar Hill and Shivadi assembly seats under Mumbai South. The Congress led in Byculla and Mumbadevi by comfortable margins of 39,000 and 34,000 votes respectively. This strong performance by the Congress in these muslim dominated assembly seats reduced the defeat margin of Milind Deora. Milind Deora remains the only current politicial leader from the Congress, who seems to have a future in Mumbai politics.
- Manoj Kotak had the luck of going from a BMC corporator to a Member of Parliament. This is a big jump for any leader. He was nominated as BJP candidate from Mumbai North East LS seat, as Sena opposed the candidature of Kirit Somaiya who was in the forefront in countering Sanjay Raut of the Sena in the last five years. Kotak won by 2.26 lakh votes defeating NCP’s Sanjay Dina Patil. Manoj Kotak led in all assembly segments except Mankhurd, which has a buge minority and SC population.
- The BJP led by big margins in Bhandup West, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar West, Ghatkopar East and Mulund. The NDA seems set to retain these five seats comfortably in the upcoming assembly election.
- The NCP led in Mankhurd-Shivajinagar by a big margin of 42,000 votes. However, the assembly seat is held by Abu Azmi of the Samajwadi party. It is likely that Abu Azmi may retain this seat. This is a muslim and SC dominated seat. If the AIMIM were to fight this seat, then a four-cornered contest with three muslim parties (including the Congress) could make it an interesting fight.
- Raj Thackeray proved to be the most flop campaigner of Lok Sabha 2019. His party had influence in Mumbai till 2012. But his campaign for the Congress-NCP and more importantly against Narendra Modi, has angered most of his former supporters. He could not even influence the voters in the booth in Shivaji Park where he stays. MNS will likely win zero assembly seats in Mumbai in upcoming assembly election. In fact Raj campaigning for the Congress, made the Jain community come out in heavy numbers to vote for the Sena-BJP. MNS had campaigned against ban on meat selling on 2-3 days during the Jain annual fasting festival. They did despicable acts like cooking chicken outside a Jain derasar. Congress will suffer even more if they are directly or indirectly seen as being with the MNS.
- The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) of Prakash Ambedkar got between 15,000 to 68,000 votes in the six LS constituencies of Mumbai. The VBA got more than 60,000 votes in Mumbai North East and Mumbai South Central constituencies. This support could increase in coming assembly election, as AIMIM could contest the muslim dominated assembly segments of Byculla, Mumbadevi, Malad East, Bandra East, Bandra West and Mankhurd-Shivajinagar etc. The AIMIM victory in Aurangabad in likely to make the muslim voters see the party as a credible alternative in the future. This is bad news for the Congress in Mumbai (not considering the NCP as they have limited votebase in Mumbai city).
- Rahul Shewale of the Shiv Sena won a second consecutive Lok Sabha election defeating Eknath Gaikwad of the Congress in the Mumbai South Central seat. Congress is losing a lot of areas of influence in Mumbai. They could only lead in the Dharavi assembly segment where Eknath Gaikwad’s daughter Varsha Gaikwad is the sitting MLA. Sena candidate led in rest of the five assembly segments.
- Rebel Congress MLA Kalidas Kolambkar from Wadala was working for the NDA candidate and is on the verge of joining the BJP in the next 2-3 months. Congress is likely to lose this seat in the upcoming assembly election. The Sena led by 40,000 votes in Wadala in this Lok Sabha election.
- The Sena led by 53,000 votes in the Mahim assembly seat. This is the assembly seat that includes Shivaji Park where Raj Thackeray resides. The Sena is likely to retain this seat again in the assembly election. The Congress strongholds of Chembur and Sion-Koliwada have crumbled in the past few years. However, Congress MLA and ex state minister Varsha Gaikwad would retain the Dharavi seat as Congress got a lead of 9,000 votes this time.
Thus, Mumbai which contributes a decent chunk of 36 seats in the Maharashtra assembly (total 288 seats) can give 30-32 seats to the BJP-Shiv Sena. The Congress is in a position to win a meagre 3-4 seats in the best scenario. AIMIM could be the dark horse in the upcoming assembly elections in Mumbai.