In Part IV of the series on final prediction of the result & vote shares for the assembly seats in Mumbai, I cover the six assembly seats that make up the Mumbai South Central Lok Sabha seat. The assembly segments are Anushakti Nagar, Chembur, Dharavi, Sion-Koliwada, Wadala and Mahim. The Lok Sabha seat is held by Rahul Shevale of the Shiv Sena from 2014 onwards. The Sena and the BJP graph is on the rise in this Lok Sabha seat.
Let us analyze the assembly seats in detail,
- Anushakti Nagar: This assembly segment was won by Tukaram Kate of the Shiv Sena in 2014. He defeated Nawab Malik of the NCP by a small margin of 1,007 votes. The BJP and Congress got 23,767 and 17,615 votes respectively. Thus effective NDA lead over the UPA was approx 7,000 votes. This assembly constituency is dominated by Marathi voters followed by Muslim voters. With the NDA and UPA allies fighting together this time, it will be a straight fight between the sitting MLA Tukaram Kate and Nawab Malik. The presence of BSP and AIMIM will cause a loss of a few votes to the NCP. In LS 2019, Rahul Shewale of the Sena led by 8,649 votes in this assembly seat. I predict Tukaram Kate of the Shiv Sena to win by a margin of 10,000-13,000 votes (LS 2019 margin for NDA: 8,649 votes).
- Chembur: This assembly segment was once a BJP stronghold represented by veteran leader Hashu Advani who won the seat four times. The BJP stronghold was broken by the Congress when Chandrakant Handore won the Chembur seat in 2004 and 2009 on the strength of Scheduled Caste and muslim votes. The 2014 assembly election gave an opportunity to the Shiv Sena to wrest the BJP bastion when Prakash Phatarphekar snatched this assembly segment in a three way fight between the Sena, Congress and the RPI(A) which was an ally of the BJP. The Sena won by a margin of 10,027 votes over the Congress. Handore of the Congress got 37,383 votes while Dipak Nikalje (Underworld don Chhota Rajan’s brother got 36,615 votes. With the NDA alliance having being sealed it is clear that the Congress stands no chances this time. The Congress has repeated Chandrakant Handore to fight sitting MLA Prakash Phatarphekar of the Sena. I predict Prakash Phaterphekar of the Shiv Sena to win this seat with a margin of 40,000-45,000 votes (LS 2019 margin for NDA: 39,341 votes).
- Dharavi: This is one constituency where the Congress seems to be winning, but the fight against a united NDA candidate will not be easy. The Congress has always held this seat since the 1980 assembly election, with the exception of 1995 when the Sena won this seat. Varsha Gaikwad of the Congress is a three time winner, following in the footsteps of her father Eknath Gaikwad who also was a three time winner (till he got promoted as MP from Mumbai South Central LS constituency). The NDA ironically saw a ray of hope in the 2014 assembly elections when the Sena (32,390 votes) and BJP (20,763 votes) had their combined tally greater than the Congress (47,718 votes). But in the 2019 Lok Sabha the UPA led by 8,991 votes in this assembly seat. Thus Ashish More of the Sena has a tough task against the incumbent Varsha Gaikwad. His only ray of hope are the Congress votes cut by Manoj Sansare of the AIMIM. Scheduled caste Buddhist voters have been backing Gaikwad family and the Congress for decades now. If they decide to try a new option in form of the AIMIM, this could be the opening the Shiv Sena wanted. So even though my heart wants the Shiv Sena to win, my mind predicts Varsha Gaikwad of the Congress to retain the Dharavi seat by a reduced margin of 5,000-10,000 votes (LS 2019 margin for UPA: 8,991 votes).
- Sion-Koliwada: The Sion-Koliwada seat was formed in the delimitation before the 2009 assembly election and Jagannath Shetty of the Congress won this seat by a comfortable margin. The three way split between the BJP, MNS and RPI(A) helped the Congress win this seat, which has a large number of Marathi speaking Hindu and Buddhist voters as well as a good amount of South Indian voters. In the 2014 assembly election, BJP’s Captain Tamil Selvan narrowly defeated Mangesh Satamkar of the Shiv Sena by 3,738 votes. The sitting MLA Jagannath Shetty of the Congress could get only 17.2% of the total votes. This time Captain Tamil Selvan is the official candidate of the NDA alliance and has a comfortable lead as Sena-BJP had 58.2% vote share in 2014. Additionally, ex Cong MLA Jagannath Shetty’s son has joined the BJP. Also the NCP candidate in the 2014 assembly election, Prasad Lad has joined the BJP and is now an MLC as well as a close confidante of CM Devendra Fadnavis. The Congress has fielded Ganesh Kumar Yadav against the BJP candidate, but the fight seems easy for the BJP. The only problem for the NDA was that the Congress has increased its vote share in the 2019 LS election on this seat. I predict Captain Tamil Selvan of the BJP will win the Sion-Koliwada assembly seat by a margin of 30,000-35,000 votes (LS 2019 margin for NDA: 19,364 votes).
- Wadala: The Wadala seat (and it’s predecessor Naigaum seat) has been held by Kalidas Kolambkar for six terms now. Till 2004 he won on a Shiv Sena ticket but defected to the Congress along with Narayan Rane in 2005. He won the by-poll and the 2009 and 2014 assembly elections on a Congress ticket. The 2014 election was a narrow victory of 800 votes over Mihir Kotecha of the BJP (who is now the BJP candidate from Mulund) as the third placed Sena got 32,080 votes. Kolambkar with his keen sense of political survival understood that 2019 cannot be won on a Congress ticket. So he officially joined the BJP about a month or two ago, though he campaigned for the NDA in LS 2019. The Congress has nominated Shivkumar Lad against Kolambkar. Now it remains to be seen if the Sena cadre works for ex-Shiv Sainik Kolambkar. I predict Kalidas Kolambkar of the BJP to retain the Wadala assembly seat for the seventh time (first time on a BJP ticket) by a margin of 35,000-40,000 votes (LS 219 margin for NDA: 39,497 votes.
- Mahim: The Mahim assembly segment is the key stronghold of the Sena (formed in 2009 by merging erstwhile Mahim and Dadar assembly seats). This seat was lost only in the 2009 MNS surge. The Sena Bhavan lies in this assembly seat as well as the iconic Shivaji Park and the Siddhivinayak mandir. The MNS still retains a support base here but the NDA support is much stronger. Sada Sarvankar of the Sena won this seat in the 2014 assembly election by defeating Nitin Sardesai of the MNS by 5,941 votes. Sardesai got 40,350 votes, a reduction of approx 8,000 votes from 2009 when he won the seat. The BJP surprised all by getting 33,446 votes in the Sena stronghold. The BJP could have caused a Sena defeat had it got some more votes. This time Sada Sarvankar is defending the seat against Sandeep Deshpande of the MNS. The MNS did not fight the LS 2019 polls but is fighting the assembly election for survival. The younger generation of voters is attracted towards the MNS, but the combined strength of the NDA is too strong to be breached. I predict Sada Sarvankar of the Sena to win this seat by a margin of 40,000-45,000 votes (LS 2019 margin for NDA: 53,490 votes.
Thus, again the NDA is poised to take a major part of the spoils with the Congress hope limited to the Dharavi seat. Sena will win three assembly seats and the BJP will win two assembly seats in this area.