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LIKE LOK SABHA ELECTIONS, MNS MAY MAKE LIFE TOUGH FOR SAFFRON ALLIANCE IN ASSEMBLY POLLS

lokasabha-5The Mumbai North constituency has been a sort of ironical story for the BJP-Shiv Sena, particularly for senior BJP leader Ram Naik since 2004. In spite of his popularity and pro-people image in the constituency, Ram Naik lost to filmstar Govinda in 2004. As Ram Naik looked forward to regaining his constituency in 2009, he lost again even though the Congress denied ticket to Govinda. This time, it was the dark horse Sanjay Nirupam who crashed Naik’s aspiration to represent Mumbai North for the fifth time. The two defeats had a common factor. In 2004, a large number of north Indians in Mumbai North turned against the BJP-Sena after some Shiv Sena activists, reportedly supporters of Raj Thackeray who was then with the Sena, had roughed up railway job aspirants from Uttar Pradesh-Bihar in Mumbai and Kalyan. The Raj Thackeray factor spoiled the party for Naik again in 2009 as Nirupam could score a narrow victory because the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena candidate Shirish Parkar polled 1.47 lakh votes against 2.49 lakh by Mr Naik and 2.55 lakh by Mr Nirupam. This has made the assembly elections for the six segments a tight contest for the BJP-Sena. Right from Borivali to Charkop and Dahisar to Kandivali East, the BJP-Sena nominees face a stiff challenge from the MNS. The constituency, which has the largest concentration of North Indian and other prominent non-Marathi voters like Gujarati and South Indians, is as suitable for Congress-style

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