While it was a tight finish between the Shiv Sena and the BJP in the end, both ended up redefining the city’s electoral landscape. While the Shiv Sena rally came on the back of impressive gains in Marathi heartlands in Central Mumbai and the eastern suburbs, the BJP notched up big wins in the suburbs. In each of the city’s six parliamentary segments, there were local variations that distinguished one region from another. Here’s a look at Mumbai’s new political geography.
The Shiv Sena enhanced its footprint in this belt picking up three more seats than the last time to increase its tally to 16. But the biggest winner in this belt was the BJP, which picked up 24 seats, which translated into a gain of 14 over the last time. While the gains for the Shiv Sena came from Maharashtrian-dominated wards in Magathane, Charkop and Borivali, where the party had conceded in 2012 owing to a split in Marathi votes with Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the BJP won big in belts with a sizeable Gujarati and North Indian population. In the process, it hurt the Congress the most, whose tally declined from 12 in 2012 to just six this time. The MNS, which had won seats in the belt the last time, failed to open its account here. Mumbai North is generally middle and upper middle-class population. There are some pockets where the Gujarati, Marwari and North Indian population is equal to or more than the Marathi-speaking population.
Mumbai North West
In the assembly polls, the Shiv Sena and the BJP had won three assembly seats each in this belt, wiping out the Congress in the region. While the Congress suffered electoral setbacks again this election, the BJP scored over the Shiv Sena in the Marathi-speaking belts in Goregaon (West) and Dindoshi picking up six seats. In comparison, the Shiv Sena, which had swept this region in 2012, could win just three. Senior Shiv Sena minister Subhash Desai hails from the region. The Congress dropped a couple of seats in these belts. Mumbai North West’s voter demographic primarily comprises the slum voter. While the largest voter segment in this region again is the Konkani Marathi speaking population, there is a strong North Indian and Muslim population in Andheri (West). The BJP picked up the most number of seats in the region this time.
Mumbai North Central
The suburban belt where the rich and the famous coexist with the poorest of the poor has traditionally been a Congress stronghold. The belt has the highest population of Muslim and Christian voters. But this time it was the Shiv Sena which picked up the most number of seats in the belt followed by the BJP. The Shiv Sena’s rally primarily came in mixed Marathi-non-Marathi population segments in Vakola and Kalina. In a first, a Muslim candidate, Haji Mohammed Halim Khan, got elected on a Shiv Sena ticket from the belt. The Congress won seven seats from this region this time as compared to 12 the last time.
Mumbai North East
While this belt — presently represented by the BJP in Parliament — had in 2012 seen the smaller parties namely the MNS, the Samajwadi Party, the NCP and the Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh pick up 20 seats in 2012, the main parties scripted a comeback this time. The Shiv Sena made impressive gains in the Bhandup and Vikhroli segments where the MNS had thwarted it the last time, while the BJP swept its traditional stronghold of Mulund picking up all six seats. It gained a seat in Ghatkopar too, which is seen as another BJP stronghold. On the other hand, Congress’s plans to win seats in the minority-dominated pockets in Mankhurd, Govandi and Shivajinagar were foiled by the SP and the NCP. Mumbai North East is dominated by the slum voter. Minorities make up about 20 per cent of the voter population. The backward classes, too, have a considerable presence. The affluent Gujarati dominated upper class voter is mainly found in developed pockets in Mulund, Ghatkopar, and Powai.
Mumbai South Central
The belt with the largest Dalit population saw the Shiv Sena pick up most seats in Marathi-heartlands Dadar, Parel, Lower Parel and Sewree. The Konkani Marathi exists in large numbers in this segment. While the BJP also registered a gain over the last time, it was the Shiv Sena that won big winning 20 seats. The BJP won four, the Congress six. The MNS, which had picked up eight seats in this belt last time, won just two. The Congress relied on its traditional strongholds in Dharavi and Sion Koliwada to six seats. Mumbai South Central is mainly the middle, lower middle class Marathi speaking working class population.
The rich versus the poor divide is the most stark in this belt. In the 2012 civic poll, the Congress had picked up the most seats here, followed by the Shiv Sena. But the BJP’s growing clout in the upwardly mobile segment saw it pick up 10 seats, the most, this time. The Shiv Sena dropped two seats in Girgaum, a Marathi heartland, to the BJP. The Congress won five seats primarily in minority dominated and backward class segments. The AIMIM, which represents Byculla region in the Maharashtra assembly, failed to win a seat in this belt.