In a shocking turn, seen in this Maharashtra assembly election 2019, Congress party Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), Arif (Naseem) Khan, from Mumbai’s Chandivali Vidhan Sabha constituency lost his seat to his rival Shiv Sena leader Dilip Bhausaheb Lande. Khan, who was once the minister of Congress led Maharashtra government, lost the battle by just 409 votes which is still seen to be onerous to believe for him and his followers. In a nail biting neck-to-neck competition during the vote counting day, Oct 24, Khan and Lande shared the experience of trailing and leading multiple times. Final score of Shiv Sena leader Dilip Lande is 85,879 votes while Naseem Khan could bag 85,470 votes, 409 votes lesser than that of Lande.
While Lande is seen celebrating his ‘once thought impossible triumph’, Khan is seen emotional over his sad dethronement. We tried to analyse Khan’s defeat by contemplating over a plethora of reasons and talking to the sources belonging to his party, followers and his rivals. The reasons are shared below
Failure in the Rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers
It is a known fact that the slum dwellers in Kranti Nagar, Bail Bazaar & Jari Mari, which play a crucial role in deciding the winner of Chandivali Vidhan Sabha constituency, were dissatisfied with Khan over Khan’s inaction on his promise to rehabilitate them. The slum dwellers received a dummy key to their decided rehabilitation accommodation in Vidyavihar, from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP), Poonam Mahajan, representing Chandivali Vidhan Sabha constituency. The keys of Vidyavihar flats under SRA projects to some slum dwellers were distributed by Mahajan in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, before the general election 2019. It is said that people of Kranti Nagar, Bail Bazaar and Jari Mari got tilted towards BJP after they were promised rehabilitation by BJP. Since BJP had declared the pre-poll alliance with Shiv Sena, Lande received huge support from these ‘upset’ slum dwellers who face numerous problems during monsoon.
Division of Muslim votes
The Muslim voters of Chandivali Vidhan Sabha constituency, which are considered as the vote bank of Khan, were provided with a number of options in this assembly election. Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi (VBA), which was considered as the game changer by CM Fadnavis, spoiled Khan’s planned victory. VBA candidate from Chandivali, Abul Hasan Khan, managed to secure 8871 votes, which is considered as the biggest reason for Khan’s defeat. Another candidate, Mohd Imran Qureshi, of All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), managed to get 1167 votes which became another reason for Khan’s defeat. Khan could have won this assembly election easily in the absence of these ‘two hurdles’.
Traffic Jam and Ramshackled Roads
It is a known fact that the traffic jam from Sakinaka to Kamani through Bail Bazaar is a decades old problem faced by the people residing in these areas. Even the road near Khan’s Jari Mari office is in a very bad state which results into snarling of traffic from this area. The area covers a good amount of voters who have turned the table against Khan in this assembly election. In an exclusive interview with Ajanta News, Shiv Sena winning candidate from Chandivali Vidhan Sabha constituency, Dilip Lande, highlighted this issue and promised for a permanent solution to this problem after he comes into power (Watch the interview here)
BJP & Shiv Sena Corporators
The Chandivali Vidhan Sabha constituency is formed of many Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) wards, out of which, only 1 corporator, Wajid Qureshi, represents Congress party. The Shiv Sena Corporators like Vijender (Viju) Shinde, Chitra Sangle, Kiran Landge & Dilip Lande himself worked day and night to support their party candidate Dilip Lande. BJP corporator Harish Bhandirge also supported Lande which again ascended Lande’s vote share in this election.
Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh (RSS) & Bajrang Dal
The pro-Hinduism wings of Chandivali Vidhan Sabha constituency, Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bajrang Dal, united against the 4 times sitting MLA Naseem Khan. In a conversation with Ajanta News, a close RSS pracharak who wished to remain undisclosed, said that Khan had been supporting Muslim ideology in his constituency and helped Hindus only during the pre-election period to gain their votes. Though, some of Khan’s Hindu supporters refuted this claim when Ajanta News spoke to them on this point. The Bajrang Dal supporters, though, said that they will fully support whoever Hindu candidate stands against Khan.
Interview with Ajanta News
Digital world plays an important role in meeting the target audience and the winning Shiv Sena candidate, Dilip Lande, realized it well in advance. Lande, made it a point to reach out to the people of Chandivali by the means of digital press which has good readership in his constituency. He chose Ajanta News when he thought of high readership to reach out to maximum of his voters. In an exclusive interview with Ajanta News, Lande answered all the tough questions of Chandivali people with full confidence. He cleared the air on various allegations put on him by his rivals as soon as his name was declared for the assembly election 2019. This interview resulted into strengthening his closeness with the voters before the voting. Khan, on the other hand, failed to avail time to choose this important means to reach out to his untouched voters before the voting on October 21. (Watch the interview here)
High Voter Turnout
The Chandivali made a mark this year in voting percentage. As per Election Comission’s official statistics, out of 3.8 lac voters of Chandivali Vidhan Sabha constituency, 51.7% voters came out to vote. This was the highest after 1995, when the constituency was known as Kurla Vidhan Sabha constituency, wherein 56.2% voters came out to vote that year. The statistics show that even that time, Shiv Sena won the seat after the highest voting. That year, Shiv Sena leader Shantaram Chavan had marked the victory.