Ever since Shiv Sena fielded Vijay Chougule in Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections – the party has been facing one historic defeat after the other. By fielding the controversial Vijay Chougule, the Shiv Sena gave an open opportunity to the NCP to attack Vijay Chougule on his dubious criminal record in both the elections and the rest of the damage was done by MNS candidate. If this trend continues, then the million dollar question is “Will MNS continue to steal Shiv Sena’s thunder even in municipal elections? And the upset for Shiv Sena continues. The downfall of the Shiv Sena started from the Lok Sabha elections when the party fielded the controversial Vijay Chougule as their candidate. His dubious criminal record’s history gave the NCP every opportunity to attack Vijay Chougule and prove to voters that he did not have the elective merit to represent Navi Mumbai either as a MP or MLA. While Rajan Raje cost Vijay Chougule a defeat in parliamentary elections, Rajendra Mahale cost Suresh Haware a defeat in assembly elections. Like everywhere in the state, even in Navi Mumbai, MNS played spoil sport for the Shiv Sena vote bank. Critics believe that had the Shiv Sena fielded Anand Paranjpe instead of Vijay Chougule in parliamentary polls, the Shiv Sena would not have lost its fortress Thane to NCP in a historic win for Dr. Sanjeev Naik. What has further worsened the condition of the Shiv Sena in Navi Mumbai is its leadership in the form of Vijay Chougule. Under him, staunch Shiv Sena supporters have either stopped working for the party or has defected from it. From the likes of Sushma Dande, Vithal More, Atul Kulkarni, Anant Sutar to the entire strong corporators “Ashtvinayak” group to the level of party workers. And the party cadre continued to further break when Vijay Chougule gave candidatures to his close associates, loyalists and confidantes in municipal elections. Perhaps the worst sign for Shiv Sena in Navi Mumbai is that the party’s Chief Vijay Chougule had to file his nominations as an independent candidate from a ward so that he could stay in Navi Mumbai during elections otherwise according to reports the police could have asked him to leave the city’s jurisdiction until elections got over due to his dubious criminal record. In contrast to these factors working against Shiv Sena in Navi Mumbai, the MNS seems to be a winner on all fronts. The party has fielded 60 able dynamic candidates – none of these candidates are defects of any party, majority of them have commendable educational qualification and record of social work and all are hard core Raj Thackeray loyalists. With star candidates like Anand More who is a BSc graduate, Vilas Chauhan – a professor by profession, Giriraj Darekar – a diploma holder in computers, Beena Surve – a Commerce graduate, Shubangi Bandichede – a MA Marathi and Ravindra Walawalkar – who resigned as SBI Director to contest polls – the MNS has set an ideal precedent as compared to Shiv Seba by giving not just Marathi voters but all sections a better alternative to other candidates in the form of MNS candidates. Perhaps that’s why the MNS sabhas in Airoli without Raj Thackeray saw a better response than the Shiv Sena sabha held in the city. To begin with Uddhav Thackeray arrived late for the sabha and all the saffron leaders who addressed the sabha only attacked their opponents on the same old issues they raised in parliamentary and assembly polls. None of them spoke about issues pertaining to progress and development or even water – gutter – meter, which one expects during municipal polls. That’s why the Shiv Sena sabha seems to have got a luke warm response from voters in Navi Mumbai. On the other hand the final MNS sabha is scheduled to be addressed by Raj Thackeray himself and it is not hard to guess what response that meeting will get. So will the MNS steal Shiv Sena’s thunder even in municipal polls? Yes says MNS Election In-Charge Nandu Satam In an exclusive interview in the NMTV Studio. Acknowledging that the Shiv Sena is growing weaker by the day, Nandu Satam also had a word of advice for the party. He says that Sena should do introspection on why they are loosing the people’s trust. He says that the Marathi manoos has trust in MNS because Shiv Sena has not worked. And if Nandu Satam’s confidence is anything to go by, then MNS is not only going to steal Shiv Sena’s thunder in municipal polls but even the Congress as a confident Nandu Satam says the next Opposition Leader of NMMC will be from MNS. With cameraperson Abhay Prasad and Vinayak Dalvi, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.
January 29, 2009
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