Vashi: The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s general body election has again been put off to rectify electoral rolls. Even after ten months without an elected body, and all powers wrested on the civic bureaucracy, this mockery of democracy is being hardly questioned and no one accountable for this denial of local self-government rule.
Even the senior and junior, ruling and opposition political class in the city are too engrossed in the power play of the forthcoming polls, expected to be held in 3-4 months period. When assembly, civic, gram panchayat and other by-polls were held throughout the country, even during the prevailing pandemic, Navi Mumbai citizens hardly bothered to care and the Election Commission too did not bother to keep the voters informed about the cause of their deprivation.
Parties and prospective candidates that could afford promotional agencies make their presence felt on social media by remembering and paying homage to national and local leaders and eminent people, sending out invitations for public functions like Haldi-Kumkum and birthday greetings, organising sports events and making announcements of civic works executed by their initiative, etc. Even those who cannot afford professional consultants and services do not lag behind in promoting themselves on social media through Youtube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and news channels and social media news.
The poll battle in the city was clearly two-cornered between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance of Shivsena, Nationalist Congress Party and Indian National Congress. However, the MVA is working with new strategies to checkmate the combined might of the BJP’s two legislators Ganesh Naik and Manda Mhatre.
Naseem Khan of the Congress Party addressing a meet of Congress office bearers and workers in the city announced that the party was gearing up to fight all the 111 seats in the city, just as it has decided to do in the
Mumbai civic polls next year. This will enable the Shivsena too, to contest all 111 seats. The NCP that is keen to contest in about 35 seats, will have to align with either the Congress or the Shivsena.
Ultimately the Congress and NCP will join hands and try to win maximum seats as also pacify the rank and file of the party workers by allowing them to contest in more seats. This will be a win-win situation for the MVA as the Shivsena is expected to be the largest party as they are well poised to win in about 45 to 50 wards and the Congress-NCP combine could ensure victory in at least 20 to 25 wards. This strategy could usurp power from Ganesh Naik, who ruled the city uninterrupted for 25 years. The BJP will have to go it alone and could win in about 35 to 40 wards. Thus, making the poll battle a three-cornered fight.
The Congress district chief Anil Kaushik will depend on the NCP to topple the BJP veteran and former Standing Committee chairman of NMMC Sampat Shewale in ward no. 63. The only seat won by Dr. Jayaji Nath and his wife Shaila Nath in all the five NMMC polls till date, ward no.104 is also staring at an upset for the BJP by the NCP candidate Jyoti Dhanaji Kharade, a doctorate in urban development.
The Shivsena clearly is well poised to win 15 out of the first 21 electoral wards in the city. The BJP and SS will share the spoils in wards 22 to 42. The BJP, SS and NCP-Congress will be equally poised in wards 43 to 64. SS will dominate in 10 out of the wards 65 to 86 and the other 11 wards will be shared by the BJP and NCP-Congress. The BJP could win 11 of the wards from 87 to 111, leaving the rest to be shared by the MVA alliance partners.
With elections postponed further, there could be more defections and re-alignments. However, the MVA partners are keen and all set to topple the long-standing supremacy of Ganesh Naik in the 21st century smart city. The polls will see the advent of AAP and MNS too in the fray and some of them could play spoilsport in keen contests and make their presence felt.