Starting a new series of articles for early seat wise prediction for the Maharashtra assembly polls that are to be held in October this year. There are many factors like declared candidates or new alliances that can cause a change in the result. In such cases would update when such events happen. Would be starting with the Mumbai-Thane belt and then try to predict results for other areas of the state (especially urban). The Mumbai-Thane belt is a very crucial urban and industrialized region as it consists of 60 assembly seats (total of six assembly seats each under ten Lok Sabha constituencies). I will cover the Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituencies in this post.
The Mumbai North Lok Sabha seat was won by Gopal Shetty of the BJP by a margin of 4.65 lakh votes defeating Urmila Matondkar of the Congress. This was actually a no-contest as Urmila was just a token candidate put up by the Congress. In fact, Urmila protested to the then Mumbai Congress head Milind Deora mentioning how her key campaign managers had not campaigned in an effective manner. Though the Lok Sabha election was fought around the persona of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there will be some impact of the 23rd May result on the assembly polls as they are held within six months of the Lok Sabha election.
Let us analyze the assembly seats of Mumbai North in detail,
- Borivali: Borivali assembly seat has been the bastion of BJP since a long time. This seat has been held by the BJP from 1980 (in fact Ram Naik held this seat in the 1978 assembly election but on a Janta Party ticket). Hence it wasnt a surprise that BJP got a lead of 1.18 lakh in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Infact I have forecast that the Maharashtra cabinet minister Vind Tawde who is the sitting MLA, could likely win with the highest margin in the state assembly elections in October this year.
- Dahisar: The NDA candidate got a lead of 79,419 in Dahisar assembly. In 2014 assembly election, the fight was between BJP and Shiv Sena. BJP’s Manisha tai Chaudhari pipped the sitting Sena MLA Vinod Ghosalkar. There will be hectic discussion between BJP and Shiv Sena on which party should contest this seat. This seat has always been in the Sena quota and they managed to win more corporators in Dahisar in the 2017 BMC election. The BJP on the other hand would bank on the principle that the party should retain a winning seat. However it would be safe to assume that the NDA candidate will win this October.
- Magathane: The NDA got a lead of 71,869 in this assembly segment that covers areas in the vicinity of the Western Express Highway and the National Park. The assembly seat is held by Prakash Surve of the Shiv Sena (he jumped to Sena from NCP in 2014). There was MNS influence on this seat as Pravin Darekar of the MNS had won the seat in 2009. However, Darekar joined the BJP later and the MNS influence has reduced considerably. Prakash Surve should retain this seat comfortably.
- Kandivali East: Gopal Shetty got a lead of 79,538 in this assembly seat. The seat is represented by Atul Bhatkhalkar of the BJP. This seat has become a safe seat for the BJP after ex Cong MLA Ramesh Singh Thakur (famous builder and educationalist of this area) joined the BJP in 2017. Bhatkhalkar is expected to retain the seat in October.
- Charkop: This is another bastion of the BJP and gave a lead of 94,760 votes to the NDA in the Lok Sabha election. MLA Yogesh Sagar was recently made a state minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government to represent the Gujarati community, after Prakash Mehta was removed from the cabinet. His track record as MLA has been very good. The post of junior minister has enhanced the influence of Yogesh Sagar. Thus BJP retaining the Charkop seat is a forgone conclusion.
- Malad West: This is an interesting assembly seat as it is currently held by the Congress. The current MLA Aslam Sheikh had scraped through by 2,303 votes against the BJP candidate in 2014. The BJP and Sena had fought the 2014 assembly elections seperately, this helped Aslam Sheikh as the Sena candidate won 17,888 votes. As BJP and Shiv Sena were together in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the NDA got a lead of approx 20,000 votes in Malad West. This assembly seat has a significant number of minority Muslim and Christian voters, which has always helped the Congress on this seat. However given that the BJP and Sena are going to fight the assembly election together, the NDA would snatch this seat from the Congress.
Thus, we can conclude that the six assembly seats of Mumbai North are a sweep for the NDA. The Congress is likely to lose the lone seat of Malad West that survived the BJP storm of 2014. The key to this result is a clean seat allocation by the BJP and Shiv Sena. Any conflicts in the seat sharing could give a chance to the Congress in Malad West, otherwise Congress has no chance against an united NDA.