Nominations close in Mumbai, Thane for the last phaseApril 9th, 2009 - 10:28 pm ICT by IANS
Mumbai, April 9 (IANS) Nominations for the last 10 of Maharashtra’s 48 Lok Sabha constituencies - six in Mumbai and four in neighbouring Thane that go to the polls April 30 in the third phase of elections - ended here Thursday.
Top political heavyweights who have filed nominations in the past few days include Ram Naik, Gurudas Kamat, Abu Asim Azmi and young leaders like Milind Deora, Sanjay Nirupam and Priya Dutt, besides several newcomers from different parties.
The 10 constituencies are: Mumbai North, Mumbai North-East, Mumbai North-West, Mumbai North-Central, Mumbai South-Central and Mumbai South; Thane, Bhiwandi, Kalyan and Palghar.
The main contest in the region will be between the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena alliance.
However, this time, other parties like Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have also put up candidates in many constituencies, spelling trouble for the main contenders.
Among the 10 constituencies, the Congress will clash against Shiv Sena in Mumbai South, Mumbai South-Central and Mumbai North-West and against the BJP in Mumbai North and Mumbai North-Central, Bhiwandi and Palghar.
This time, the NCP will be pitted against the BJP in Mumbai North-East, and the Sena in Thane and Kalyan.
The contestants include seven sitting MPs, four legislators and members of legislative council.
In a rare occurrence, two sitting MPs will be in direct contest in Mumbai South, thanks to the delimitation exercise which has changed the face of most constituencies. The Congress’s Deora will fight Sena’s Mohan Rawale.
The MNS’s Bala Nandgaonkar will contest from Mumbai South, giving a tough time to Rawale, while two Muslim candidates - BSP’s Mohammed Ali Shaikh and Samajwadi Party’s cleric-turned-politician Maulana Syed Athar Ali, indicate rough days for Deora.
At the other end of the city, Mumbai North, former central minister Ram Naik will lock horns with former Sena MP and former journalist, Congress candidate Sanjay Nirupam. The MNS has also put up Shirish Parker, a close confidant of Raj Thackeray.
In the neighbouring Mumbai North-West seat, the Congress’ strongman Gurudas Kamat is pitted against Sena heavyweight Gajanand Kirtikar and Samajwadi Party state chief Abu Asim Azmi and the MNS’s Shalini Thackeray, the first-ever Thackeray ‘bahu’ (daughter-in-law) to contest an election.
Priya Dutt will be in a direct contest against the BJP’s Mahesh Jethmalani, ace criminal lawyer and son of former minister Ram Jethmalani. However, the Samajwadi Party has not put up a candidate here though the BSP’s Haji Ibrahim Shaikh is in the fray.
Mumbai South-Central will see the Congress’s Eknath Gaikwad lock horns with Sena MLA Suresh Gambhir, while Mumbai North-East will witness a contest between the BJP’s Kirit Somaiya and the NCP’s Sanjay Patil.
In the neighbouring district of Thane, state Excise Minister Ganesh Naik’s son Sajeev Naik will contest against Vijay Chougule of the Sena, deputy chairman of Maharashtra Legislative Council (the sole MLC in the fray), and the NCP’s Vasant Davkhare will fight against the Sena’s Anand Paranjpe in Kalyan.
Bhiwandi will see a contest between the Congress’ Suresh Taware and the BJP’s Jagannath Patil, and in Palghar the Congress’s Damu Shingda will fight against the BJP’s Chintaman Wanga.
Besides these seasoned politicians, non-politicians are also in the fray for the first time. They include a banker, ABN-Amro’s country chief Meera Sanyal (Mumbai South), Professionals Party of India (PPI)’s Mona Shah (Mumbai South) and Rajendra Thacker of PPI in Mumbai North.
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