In Mumbai North West constituency, which goes to polls on April 29, Shiv Sena's Gajanan Kirtikar and Congress's Sanjay Nirupam are sparing no efforts in reaching out to voters. While Mr Nirupam has been campaigning door-to-door in the constituency, Mr Kirtikar is using non-marathis to influence north Indians and Hindi speaking voters to get him re-elected.
"They all are with us because they have seen my work as an MLA for 20 years. My six MLAs in this constituency, 37 councillors and myself as MP have extended services to all in these 25 years," Mr Kiritikar told NDTV.
His public meetings have witnessed rare announcements in Bhojpuri, something that has not gone unnoticed among the people. For a party like Shiv Sena which has vociferously played on Marathi Manoos and Marathi pride, using non-marathis to influence North Indians and Hindi speaking voters is a key strategy to retain the constituency.
Mumbai North west constituency has a mixed demographics from slum dwellers to film personalities to fishermen to middle class. Of the 18 lakh registered voters, only six lakh are Maharashtrian voters. The 3.5 lakh north Indian voters and three lakh Muslim voters also form a significant chunk of the electorate.
On the other hand, ex-Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam has been going door-to-door in slum pockets and residential buildings of his constituency trying to convince voters to vote for him. Mr Nirupam was allotted the seat after the death of Gurudas Kamat.
"I have started my campaign in North West long time back and I have seen majority of the people are coming out in support of me. People are accepting me and are in full support of me," said the Congress leader.
But Congress prospects in the constituency could be spoiled by the presence of Subhash Pasi of the Samajwadi Party. The two-time legislator from Uttar Pradesh, Subhash Pasi, may take away a chunk of seven lakh north Indian and Muslim voters in the constituency. Mr Pai is among the four candidates fielded by the Samajwadi Party in Maharashtra.
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