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Friday, July 20, 2018

Maharashtra civic polls: MNS tally down to seven, loses strongholds to Sena, BJP

In 2012, the MNS had swept all seven seats in the Dadar, Prabhadevi and Mahim belt, which is considered a Sena stronghold.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai | Updated: February 24, 2017 1:01:32 pm
mns-759 Raj Thackeray’s residence in Mumbai after results were declared. Nirmal Harindran

For the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the showing in the BMC polls this time has been dismal — the party’s tally fell to seven from 28 in 2012. Moreover, the losses included the Marathi bastions of Dadar and Prabhadevi, which it had wrested from the Shiv Sena last time.

Of the seven seats it won, four have been retained from 2012 — by Harshala More in Mahim, Dilip Lande in Kurla and Archana Bhalerao and Paremshwar Kadam in Ghatkopar East areas. The other three seats — in areas including Mahalaxmi Racecourse, Bail Bazar in Kurla and Tunga village in Powai — came as a surprise to many.

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In 2012, the MNS had swept all seven seats in the Dadar, Prabhadevi and Mahim belt, which is considered a Sena stronghold. However, this year, the MNS managed to win only one seat here, in the Mahim area.

In the eastern suburbs too, the party lost all its six seats in the Maharashtrian-dominated belt of Bhandup and Vikhroli to the Shiv Sena.

Accepting the verdict, MNS leader Nitin Sardesai said the party would assess its performance. “We accept the result and will reflect on the reasons behind it to take corrective measures. It is shocking that we lost in Maharashtrian-dominated areas such as Dadar. Due to the BJP factor, the division of votes was higher, which affected us,” said Sardesai.

An MNS leader said their candidates were defeated as the BJP ate into the party’s vote share.

“The Sena’s votes remained intact. But the MNS vote share was divided with the BJP, which resulted in our candidates’ defeats. The BJP managed to secure Marathi votes without having a presence in some localities,” said the leader.

“In ward no 192 (Dadar Kaburtarkhana), the BJP received around 7,500 votes while in ward no 191 (Shivaji Park in Dadar), the BJP received 8,500 votes. These are all the votes of the MNS. The elite class and the Marathi-speaking people with RSS leanings, who stood behind the MNS in 2012, have moved to the BJP. This trend has been going on since 2014. The people are still drawn to the BJP and its leaders,” said the leader.

He said all the seven seats that the MNS won are not in Maharashtrian-dominated areas. “All these seats have multilingual communities and were won purely due to the personal connect and work of the candidates. Also, all the Marathi votes went to the Sena this time, affecting the party’s prospects,” he added.


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