Nerul ward 88 to hold by-polls on Jan 10, NCP eyes vic­tory

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HT NAVI MUMBAI - G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NERUL: The by- elec­tions to ward 88 in Nerul on Jan­uary 10 an­nounced on Tues­day has heated up the po­lit­i­cal at­mos­phere in the node as a keen bat­tle is ex­pected on the cards be­tween NCP and the rest of the po­lit­i­cal par­ties in the city.

The by-elec­tion has been ne­ces­si­tated due to the death of sit­ting NCP cor­po­ra­tor Shashikala Mal­adi, 43, in Oc­to­ber this year.

The Sec­tor 3 of Nerul that falls un­der the ward was hotly con­tested in the civic elec­tions in April with the Congress can­di­date Nu­tan Raut los­ing by around 250 votes to Mal­adi. The real con­test in the ward that has been re­served for women is be­tween for­mer Congress cor­po­ra­tor San­tosh Shetty and for­mer NCP cor­po­ra­tor Suresh Shetty.

With Mal­adi’s fam­ily re­fus­ing to con­test, the seat is open for oth­ers to con­test. Po­lit­i­cal cir­cles are agog with re­ports that the op­po­si­tion could field a com­mon can­di­date against an NCP can­di­date.

All eyes are on the Congress which is at log­ger­heads with the NCP in the area but in al­liance in the house. There are re­ports of some lo­cal Congress lead­ers meet­ing BJP MLA Manda Mha­tre re­cently. Ac­cord­ing to a po­lit­i­cal ob­server, “The Congress which did not have a pre-poll al­liance with NCP had con­tested the civic elec­tions last time se­cur­ing around 1,400 votes against 1,632 votes of the NCP. The BJP can­di­date had se­cured around 940 votes.”

He added, “If you add the Congress and BJP votes, the NCP will lose by a huge mar­gin.”

“While the city lead­er­ship is on friendly terms with NCP leader Ganesh Naik at present, San­tosh Shetty is cer­tainly not go­ing to hold back,” said the ob­server.

The par­ties are con­fi­dent of vic­tory. Suresh Shetty said, “The peo­ple of the area had whole­heart­edly sup­ported the NCP in the last elec­tion as they trust Ganesh Naik. All the neg­a­tive pro­pa­ganda of the op­po­si­tion is not go­ing to work.”

Op­po­si­tion l eader Vi­jay Chougule said, “The de­ci­sion on con­test­ing the seat will be taken by the party high com­mand.”

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