Maha polls: A look at Goregaon constituency | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Maha polls: A look at Goregaon constituency

By, Mumbai
Oct 18, 2019 01:18 AM IST

Goregaon was once known as a socialist stronghold. About three decades ago, the Shiv Sena gain control over it, but lost it to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014. Now, the party has further strengthened its position here, while the Sena has surrendered the seat to its alliance partner.

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The Assembly constituency has the western express highway on the east, Malad creek on the west, Oshiwara nullah on the south and Vasari Hill road marks its northern boundary. It has some prominent areas such as Bangur Nagar, Motilal Nagar, Siddharth Colony, Prem Nagar, and Unnat Nagar.

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The BJP has renominated Vidya Thakur who had in 2014 surprised everyone by defeating three-time Sena MLA Subhash Desai. Thakur was made a minister in the BJP-Sena government.

Politically, Goregaon became famous owing to Mrinal Gore, a firebrand socialist leader who had earned the title of ‘Paaniwali bai’ owing to her agitations for water supply. Goregaon was also the epicentre of the socialist movement. Socialist leaders namely Keshav Gore, Ahilya Rangnekar, Baburao Samant, Kamal Desai and Pramila Dandavate, among others, participated in several socialists’ movements for affordable housing, civil rights and facilities such as water supply originated from Goregaon. Nagari Nivara Parishad on Goregaon west is one of the successful outcomes of it.

Desai was first elected from Goregaon in 1990, as he defeated trade union leader late Sharad Rao. Since then, the Sena mostly represented the constituency till 2014. This time, the Congress has pitted Yuvraj Mohite, an activist and journalist from Goregaon. He is also closely associated with the socialist movement for decades now. “Being a journalist and an activist, who worked closely with Mrunaltai (Gore), I am well aware of the constituency and its issues. Hence people themselves are coming forward in my support,” said Mohite.

Mohite’s drawback could be that he is not a known face among the non-Maharashtrian voters. The Opposition votes could further get divided as the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has fielded its candidate, Virendra Jadhav.

Of the seven corporators from Goregaon, five to the west are from the BJP, while the two in the areas to the east are from the Shiv Sena. The Sena-BJP alliance will be in favour of Thakur. The functionaries of both the parties are upset with the minister for not being approachable.

The constituency has the highest number of Maharashtrian voters. The constituency also has a significant amount of North Indians, followed by Gujarati-Rajasthani, Muslim, south Indian and Christian community voters.

Redevelopment of Mhada buildings and colonies such as Motilal Nagar is one of the major issues. Residents claim they are forced to stay in dilapidated houses owing to delays in decision making on redevelopment.

Slum redevelopment projects at Siddharth Nagar and Prem Nagar are stuck. Redevelopment of Patra Chawl has been in the headlines for long owing to a scam. Residents also complain about poor health services. Due to the closure of Siddharth Hospital, they are forced to visit other hospitals in case of emergencies.

“Goregaon is one of the best and peaceful suburbs in the city, but it has poor amenities, cleanliness and drainage network. Footpaths are encroached upon by hawkers, eateries and shrines, making it difficult for people to walk, besides affecting traffic flow. There is no solution to these problems yet,” said Ellen Ananda, 73, a retired teacher and Goregaon resident.

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    Kailash works with the political team and has been covering transport beat for over a decade. He is interested in travel and music.

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