Opposition to Manda Mhatre steadily growing and Manohar Bhoir in trouble as 8 days of the Vidhan Sabha poll campaign left.
It is a no contest election for Ganesh Naik, the BJP-led grand alliance candidate, in the Airoli assembly constituency of Navi Mumbai, with no opposition candidate, worth the contest, in the fray.
Ganesh Naik has not only led all the NCP corporators in the constituency to the BJP, he has also got Congress corporators to defect to the BJP. With the Shiv Sena, a major alliance partner, his main opposition in the region has been decimated.
Vijay Chougule, M. K. Madhavi, Dwarakanath Bhoir, Prashant Patil, all of Shiv Sena could have upturned Naik’s apple-cart, and their compulsions of alliance loyalties, particularly keeping the NMMC general elections, that is just 5 months away, in mind, Ganesh Naik is assured of the most comfortable win in his political career.
But being twice bitten (defeated twice by very narrow margins), Ganesh Naik, in spite of very glorious credentials of leadership in the city, is leaving no stone unturned in reaching out to the electorate, among whom he is already very popular.
Ably supported by his sons, former Member of Parliament, Sanjeev Naik and former legislator Sandeep Naik, former Mayors, Sagar Naik and Sudhakar Sonawane and all the corporators who defected to the BJP along with him, Ganesh Naik is on the smoothest wicket to an astounding victory.
The same appeared true for Manda Mhatre in the Belapur constituency when the campaign began, as the opposition appeared to be stunned, particularly after Vijay Nahata, deputy leader of the SS, chose not to revolt after an effective campaign in the constituency for nearly 3 years.
However Navi Mumbai district president of NCP, Ashok Gawade, the Congress – NCP led front candidate, is gradually gathering steam with Sharad Pawar loyalists wanting to avenge the betrayal of their most loved leader and NCP’s founder presIdent.
Rebel Shiv Sainiks in the constituency are throwing their weight for the SS rebel candidate Vijay Mane, who too is steadily finding his orbit in the poll campaign.
MNS district president, Gajanan Kale is also in the fray as the MNS candidate, and is the only aggressive campaigner against the BJP candidate, but with a very small voter base in the city.
Manda Mhatre’s public connect during the 25 years of her political career in the city, particularly during her tenure as a BJP legislator in the last 5 years, makes her poll campaign more effective than all her opponents. She certainly cannot afford any complacency as Ashok Gawade and Vijay Mane are coming into their own and finding support from within the alliance sections too.
Prashant Thakur has mastered the art of poll campaigning and is the only leader who is actively in touch with all sections in the constituency all year round. Groomed by his father and former member of parliament, Ramshet Thakur who has thick friends in all political parties and social circles and supported by his brother and leader of the House in the Panvel municipal corporation, Paresh Thakur, the BJP-led alliance candidate, Prashant Thakur is all set to romp home with an astounding victory.
Prashant Thakur is facing some opposition from Harish Keni of the PWP-Congress-NCP-led front and Kantilal Kadu, an independent candidate. But both these candidates lack the organizational support and ability to command the demands of present day battles of the ballot.
The contest in Uran is turning into a keen fight. The grand alliance candidate and sitting legislator, Manohar Bhoir of the SS is facing stiff challenge from the rebel BJP candidate Mahesh Baldi (who is backed by the district BJP president, Prashant Thakur) and former PWP legislator Vivek Patil, the front candidate. Baldi is banking upon the BJP game plan to decimate the SS in the State and the anti-incumbency factor against Manohar Bhoir.