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SMALLER PARTIES MAY SPOIL CONG, SENA PROSPECT IN MUMBAI, THANE

smaller-parties2Contenders of the Congress-NCP and the BJP-Shiv Sena alliances have their share of woes in Mumbai and Thane but smaller parties and a couple of high profile independents may dent their prospects further. While the MNS, SP, BSP may not win any of the ten seats in Mumbai and Thane that went to polls on April 30, they are expected to spoil chances of some of the top candidates of the Shiv Sena-BJP and the Congress-NCP alliances. In the process, these smaller parties may also establish their footprint in both Mumbai and Thane. The delimitation of constituencies has resulted in the increased number of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats in this region, making smaller parties attempt to expand their base at the expense of the Congress and the Shiv Sena, who have been traditional rivals in these urban constituencies. Even the NCP, which contested from only one seat each in Mumbai and Thane in the 2004 election, is contesting from three seats from these regions this time. Maharashtra, which sends 48 MPs to the Lok Sabha, has already had three phases of polling for 38 constituencies on April 16, 23 and 30. Post-delimitation, the number of Lok Sabha seats from Mumbai and Thane has grown from eight to ten while that of assembly segments has increased from 47 to 60. On April 30, the fate of 196 candidates including 17 women was sealed in Electronic Voting Machines. Mumbai has six Lok Sabha and 36 assembly constituencies while neighboring Thane has four Lok Sabha and 24 assembly seats. Political observers say the Lok Sabha elections are the ‘semi finals’ in the run up to the assembly elections, due in September and October this year. While the Congress, which has contested from five of the six seats in Mumbai, is relying on the development work it has undertaken in the last five years. The SP has contested from 11 seats in Maharashtra out of which four are in Mumbai and Thane. The NCP has focused on Mumbai North-East, the lone seat has contested in Mumbai. A win here will get it a foothold in the commercial capital of India. In neighboring Thane, the Shiv Sena has contested against the NCP in Thane and Kalyan, two urban constituencies, while the BJP was pitted against the Congress in Bhiwandi and Palghar. The Shiv Sena-BJP combine, which was humbled in 2004 with Kirit Somaiya, Ram Naik and Manohar Joshi losing in Mumbai, is now hoping to stage a comeback. Bureau report – NMTV News.

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