The South Central Mumbai constituency is likely to see the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena playing a crucial role when it goes to polls on April 24 amid a three-cornered contest.
The Congress’ poll victory in the South Central Mumbai in 2009 general elections came as a huge setback for the Shiv
Sena, which dominated the constituency close to a decade.
There are six Assembly segments in the Mumbai South-Central LS constituency — comprising Anushakti Nagar from Mumbai suburban district, Chembur, Dharavi, Sion Koliwada, Wadala and Mahim.
Congress’ Eknath Gaikwad trounced Sena’s Suresh Gambhir by over 75,500 votes, whereas MNS’ Shweta Parulkar stood third in the 2009 polls.
Gaikwad’s daughter Varsha Gaikwad is an MLA from Dharavi Assembly seat.
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This time, however, Gaikwad (74) is facing the heat from the locals for not giving more emphasis on carrying out developmental works.
He is likely face a tough contest from young blood in the form of Sena’s Rahul Shewale, who until recently was a standing committee chairman in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), and MNS nominee Aditya Shirodkar.
However, dismissing any challenge from other parties, Gaikwad said, “It is not a challenge for me. At one point in time, it (the constituency) was the bastion of the Shiv Sena.
Our fight is on ideological grounds. My focus will be on to make Mumbai slum-free and long-pending issue of Dharavi
Claiming that he is the only Member of Parliament from the city who has 98 per cent attendance in the Lok Sabha, Gaikwad said that he is accessible to the people any time.
“I am always available for the people in my constituency. Also, there is disappointment against Shewale,” he said.