MUMBAI: The fight for the four legislative council seats from the teachers' and the graduates' constituencies from Mumbai, Nashik and Konkan region that are scheduled to go for poll on June 25, is likely to be between the partners in the ruling coalition - the Shiv Sena and the BJP.
Even as the rains lashed out the city over the weekend, the campaigning for these constituencies had peaked up.
In Mumbai the teachers' as well as the graduates' constituencies are going for poll and both the constituencies have and overlapping electorate. Hence the issues around which the campaign revolves are primarily related to the Mumbai University.The seating MLC from Mumbai graduates' constituency and health minister of the state Dr Deepak Sawant has not been repeated by the Shiv Sena. This has given a boost to the opposition campaign.
Shiv Sena has fielded a new face Vilas Potnis, who will take on BJP's Dr Amit Mehta. There are 12 candidates of different political parties in the fray including the Swabhiman Party of former Chief Minister Narayan Rane. A total of 70,636 voters would vote for the 12 candidates, but primarily the contest is likely to be between the traditional party that has been winning the seat - the Shiv Sena and the BJP that claims to have a strong support of non-Marathi voters.
The case of teachers' constituency wherein Kapil Patil of JD (S) is the seating MLC too is not too different. A public perception that he appears to have been claiming credit for several decisions taken by the state government in favor of the teachers may prove counterproductive for him. Patil has ensured support from the Congress and the NCP while Shiv Sena has fielded its candidate in the constituency for the first time, which traditionally had been contested by the BJP.
In all 10 candidates are in fray in the constituency that has just over 10,000 voters.Seating MLC from the Konkan graduates' constituency Niranjan Davkhare switched over from the NCP to the BJP just hours ahead of the election notification. This has raised the BJP's hopes in the constituency that it had once ruled.
However, the NCP has taken the blow seriously. This was proved by party chief Sharad Pawar who himself led the beginning of the campaign from Navi Mumbai under the leader of former minister Ganesh Naik. The Shiv Sena too has fielded its candidate, which might add some spice to the contest.The Nashik teachers' constituency belongs to the NCP, where the BJP had tried to make inroads about a couple of years back when the election was suspended due to issues related to making of electoral rolls.
While the BJP appears to have lost steam, the Shiv Sena candidate here too is expected to add spice to the contest.Apart from the local equation the elections to these four constituencies may enable the BJP regain majority control of the upper house in the state legislature, where it is running second to the NCP as of now.(EOM)