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5/6 for Congress in Mumbai

Our Regional Bureau  |  Mumbai 

The Congress party yesterday romped home in five of the six Lok Sabha constituencies, up by four seats, in Mumbai city.
Three Bharatiya Janata Party stalwarts, Union Petroleum minister Ram Naik, Union minister of state for power and Kirit Somaiya, and Lok Sabha speaker and former Shiv Sena chief minister of Maharashtra bit the dust.
The Shiv Sena's sitting member of parliament, Mohan Rawle, secured 1,28,536 votes and managed to hold on to the south central parliamentary constituency, thanks to a split in the votes of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate Sachin Ahir, who got 1,06,348 votes.
Ahir was pitted against his own uncle, Arun Gawli, the gangster turned politician, who received 92,210 votes.
The Mumbai voter's verdict has helped the Congress party maintain a respectable tally of 13 parliamentary seats out of the total of 48 in Maharashtra.
In the Lok Sabha elections of 1999, the Congress bagged 10 parliamentary seats in the state, only one of which was in Mumbai city, namely, the north west parliamentary constituency (won by Sunil Dutt).
General secretary and spokesperson for the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) Ajit Sawant told Business Standard: "The hypocrisy of the NDA government that released Rs 500 crore for Dharavi's redevelopment to suit Manohar Joshi's re-election effort, while allocating a mere Rs 50 crore for the drought relief aid sought by the state did not go down with the voters in Mumbai.
"Then Gurudas Kamat's appointment as president also played a crucial role in improving the Congress' performance."
The victory for the Congress in Mumbai city include two young turks-----cine actor Govinda (with 5,59,763 votes) who trounced the BJP's (who polled 5,11,492 votes) despite the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) candidates and rebel Janta Dal (secular) candidate Vidya Chavan accounting for around 25,000 votes that would have otherwise accrued to the Congress.
The second young turk for the Congress was Milind Deora, son of the estwhile Mumbai Regional Congress Party (MRCC) president Murli Deora, who notched up 1,37, 956 votes to defeat the sitting MP (BJP) who secured 1, 27, 7100 votes.
10/11 for in Vidarbha: The saffron alliance has swept the Lok Sabha elections in Vidarbha winning 10 out of 11 seats and improving its tally by four.
Barring Nagpur Lok Sabha seat, where Congress candidate Vilas Muttemwar emerged victorious by a margin of 98,500 votes, the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena alliance has bagged Ramtek, Bhandara, Wardha, Chandrapur, Chimur, Amravati, Akola, Buldana, Yavatmal and Washim.
The has won Wardha, Bhandara, Chimur, Chandrapur, Akola and Yavatmal seats while its partner Shiv Sena has retained Ramtek, Buldana, Washim and Amravati, proving all pollsters wrong.
Traditionally, Vidarbha region was considered a bastion of the Congress. However, the BJP-Sena registered an unprecedented victory over 10 seats snatching four seats from Congress and biting to dust its invincible candidates like Uttamrao Patil of Yavatmal.
The splendid performance of the saffron combine has to be viewed in the backdrop of the pre-poll alliance between Congress-and three major factions of the Republican Party of India.
This pre-poll alliance in 1998 had swept entire Vidarbha region defeating BJP-Sena over all the 11 seats, but this time resurgence of Sena, anti-incumbency wave against Congress-NCP, emergence of Bahujan Samaj Party as a force to reckon with and aggressive campaigning by the saffron alliance resulted in the defeat of the Congress-led alliance in Vidarbha.
Shiv Sena has once again registered an impressive performance retaining all the four seats-Washim, Buldana, Amravati and Ramtek held in the 13th Lok Sabha.
The also improved its tally by four and snatched Wardha, Chandrapur, Yavatmal and Akola from their rival candidates.
Last time, the BJP had lost Chandrapur, Akola and Wardha by narrow margins, but this time barring Bhandara and Wardha, the BJP candidates registered their victory by an impressive margin.
The BJP had denied tickets to its sitting MPs Chunnilal Thakur from Bhandara and Namdeorao Divte from Chimur and the gamble seems to have paid off as the party has managed to retain both the seats.
Wardha and Bhandara witnessed neck and neck fights and both the seats were won by the BJP candidates defeating their heavyweight rivals by a narrow margin.
Veteran Congress leader Prabha Rau had to bite dust at the hands of BJP candidate Suresh Waghmare by a margin of only 3188 votes. In 1999 Rau, had defeated Waghmare by a margin of 7062 votes in a triangular fight.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Prafulla Patel had to suffer a humiliating defeat in Bhandara constituency where the BJP nominee Shishupal Patle emerged victorious by a slender margin of 3009 votes.
Last time BJP candidate Chunnilal Thakur had defeated Congress candidate Dr. Shrikant Jichkar by a margin of 3899 votes from this constituency. This is the second consecutive defeat for Patel, considered a major player in national politics. Last time he had emerged third from Chimur constituency.
At Ramtek, Shiv Sena candidate and Union Minister for Heavy Industries, Subodh Mohite defeated Congress candidate Dr. Shrikant Jichkar by a margin of 14,500 votes to retain the seat. Last time, Mohite had won this seat by a margin of 11,689 votes.
Another BJP heavyweight Prof. Mahadeorao Shivankar savoured success by registering an impressive victory from Chimur Lok Sabha constituency with a victory margin of 98,774 votes. He defeated Peoples Republican Party leader Prof. Jogendra Kawade. In 1999, the BJP candidate Namdeorao Divte had defeated Jogendra Kawade by a margin of 70,040 votes.
As expected Hansraj Ahir of the BJP defeated Naresh Pugalia of the Congress from Chandrapur Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 59,823 votes. Last time, Ahir had missed the bus by a slender margin of 28,00 votes.
Nagpur result threw up a surprise as the sitting MP Vilas Muttemwar managed to romp home with a margin of 98,500 votes defeating his nearest rival Sardar Atal Bahadur Singh of the BJP.
Muttemwar polled 3.73 lakh votes while Atal Bahadur Singh received 2,74 lakh votes. This is the sole seat retained by the Congress party in Vidarbha.

First Published: Fri, May 14 2004. 00:00 IST