In Mumbai’s North West constituency, home to around 3.6 lakh North Indian voters, Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar stormed to victory with a huge margin of 2,60,328 votes to defeat Congress’s Sanjay Nirupam, a north Indian himself.
According to the data released by the Election Commission of India, Kirtikar polled the maximum number of votes in Goregaon and Jogeshwari East Assembly segments, both having a large number of north Indian residents.
In Jogeshwari East, Kirtikar got 1.6 lakh votes, while Nirupam received only 49,983 votes. In Goregaon, too, Kirtikar got over a lakh votes. In Dindoshi, Andheri East and Andheri West, the winning margin varied between 30,000 and 40,000 votes.
Assuming that all the six lakh Marathi voters in the parliamentary constituency would vote for the Sena and three lakh Muslims and one lakh south Indians would vote for Nirupam, both Kirtikar and Nirupam had aggressively wooed the north Indian voters, considered a key for electoral success here.
The voting pattern, however, indicates that ethnic affiliations has mattered little in the constituency, and, whether north Indian or Maharashtrian, people here mostly voted for the BJP-Sena candidate.
In fact, Kirtikar managed to extend his winning margin from 1.83 lakh votes in 2014 to 2.60 lakh votes this time.
It is only in Versova, where Nirupam lives, that the Congress’s former city unit head managed to dent Sena’s prospects.
Nirupam got 59,562 votes in Versova — his highest in any Assembly segment, as
opposed to Kirtikar, whose lowest in any segment was 69,061 votes.
Interestingly, the NOTA (none of the above) votes also grew from 11,009 votes in 2014 to 18,224 this year in the parliamentary constituency. Total votes polled this Lok Sabha elections were 54 per cent of of 17.3 lakh voters.
The Samajwadi Party, which contested from on the North West seat in Mumbai, could get only 0.6 per cent votes of the total votes.
Kirtikar’s total vote share here was 60.5 per cent, and Nirupam’s 32.9 per cent.
“The BJP and Sena cadre is very strong in the North West. Not just north Indians, but other communities also voted for us. This is the result of last five years of hard work as an MP. This is one-sided win for us,” Kirtikar told The Indian Express.
Nirupam, while conceding defeat, said the Congress needs to rethink its campaign strategy. “We hoped to get north Indian votes here. But the BJP made a sweep across nation, not just in Mumbai, which shows the people’s mandate.”