ganesh-naik1With the state assembly polls just 3 months away, the political equations are taking shape in Navi Mumbai. While results of Lok Sabha polls held just 2 months ago reveal party and individual standings in each assembly constituency, the Airoli and Belapur constituency is clearly the NCP stronghold. Even as the Congress and NCP are debating and considering options whether their alliance should be or not be, in Navi Mumbai beyond doubt, the supremacy of Ganesh Naik appears solid as a rock. Is Ganesh Naik going to stake claim for Airoli and Belapur assembly seats for NCP? We try to find the answers to the question with our weekend assembly polls curtain raiser report. The battle ground is getting ready and the fight for “who gets the ticket?” has begun in full force behind closed door meetings. The Congress leaders of Navi Mumbai know that if they don’t fight for getting one of the two constituencies in Navi Mumbai today – for many of them it will become an aspiration unaccomplished forever. But there’s something that the Congress leaders in Navi Mumbai are not willing to accept – that is the in-fighting among the Congress ranks in the city. The division makes it clearly evident that there is no sure Congress contender in either Airoli or Belapur who can take on the might of the Shiv Sena-BJP’s Lok Sabha tally of 48015 votes in Airoli and 42982 votes in Belapur thus making the NCP’s chances of getting the tickets from both Airoli and Belapur stronger. Beyond any doubt, Ganesh Naik’s candidature alone in Airoli can, not only ensure sure victory but also increase the lead of the Lok Sabha mandate – irrespective of who is the rival Shiv Sena – BJP candidate. And all probability it will be Vijay Chougule. In Belapur too, NCP party loyalists insist that the NMMC Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik is their best bet, while speculations are high of MLC Manda Mhatre getting the candidature for the constituency. MLC Manda Mhatre supporters say that Sharad Pawar’s advocating 50% reservation for women during his last visit to Navi Mumbai has is one reason for MLC Manda Mhatre surfacing as a potential candidate from Belapur constituency. On the other hand the Shiv Sena has a potential contender in Dr Rajesh Patil and the BJP has discovered a well-endowed challenger in Suresh Haware for Belapur constituency. With BJP riding the confidence wave and the consistent campaigning of Suresh Haware in the Belapur constituency, the BJP-SS alliance appears to be set to allocate one seat to each alliance partner. Reliable sources say that between Shiv Sena’s Dr. Rajesh Patil and BJP’s Suresh Haware, the latter’s candidature is confirm. And it is indeed doubtful if any Congress or NCP candidate could match the merit or money muscle of Suresh Haware, barring Sandeep Naik. If Sandeep Naik does get the candidature from Belapur constituency, there definitely will be allegations mostly instigated by the opposition ranks about the growing Naik family clout in the city. Yet without doubt, the family enjoys strong support from the cosmopolitan electorate in the city and also from several sections in the opposition parties too. Political analysts believe that the contest is quite clear. In Thane in the recently held Lok Sabha poll Out of the total 24 assembly seats in the 4 Lok Sabha constituencies of Thane :

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