Major upsets, few surprises mark day

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Friday was a day of major upsets and few surprises as changes in ward reservation had brought strong contenders against each other and the results consequently coming as a setback to one camp or the other. Among the most keenly contested wards was ward 169 (Parel-Bhoiwada) that saw a neck-and-neck standoff between Mumbai Mayor Shraddha Jadhav and five-time Congress corporator from Sion Ravi Raja. Jadhav who lost her lead in three out of seven rounds of results, managed a victory with 5,742 votes against Raja's 5,437 votes.

However, a big cheer for the Congress was the victory of Pravin Chheda who defected from the BJP to join the Congress and contested in Ghatkopar's ward 124 with its large Gujarati population, against strong BJP corporator from the adjacent ward, Bhalchandra Shirshat. The margin of victory was again slim as Shirshat got 700 votes less than Chheda. "I lost a fair battle," admitted Shirshat.

Shiv Sena group leader in the BMC Sunil Prabhu (13,411 votes) had a convincing win over rival Congress candidate Sunil Bari who secured 3691 votes. Another upset for the Congress party was the defeat of three time Congress corporator Rajendra Chaubey who was contesting from ward 1 (Kandarpada, Dahisar) against Abhishek Ghosalkar, son of Shiv Sena MLA Vinod Ghosalkar. With aggressive canvassing for his son in the area, Ghosalkar managed a 8275 votes win for his son against Chaube's 6375.

With 5,494 votes, Shiv Sena corporator and chairman of BMC health committee Rajul Patel also had a close fight in ward 55 (Andheri Lokhandwala) before eventually losing to Congress candidate Jyotsana Dighe who secured 5,876 votes. Patel, who is known to have worked extensively in the large slum areas of her current ward, could not get the same support from the plush Lokhandwala area.

Another close shave was between Congress corporator from Goregaon and nephew of Congress MP Gurudas Kamat, Sameer Desai, who lost to Shiv Sena's Rajan Padhye. While the ward was originally a Congress ward, the death of corporator RR Pillai in 2010 led to bypolls wherein Padhye had won. There seat was a bone of contention between the Congress and NCP alliance.

Geeta Gawli (9,138 votes) and Vandana Gawli (8,279) from the gangster-turned politician Arun Gawli's Akhil Bharatiya Sena managed clean sweep victories against Congress candidate Abdul Kazi (4,340) and Independent Rohidas Lokhande (5,257) respectively. BJP corporator from Mulund and former improvements committee chairman Manoj Kotak managed a decent 1,900 votes win Congress' Jaiprakash Shetty.

A major setback for the NCP was the defeat of NCP group leader in BMC Niyaz Vanu who lost to BJP's Mahant Chaube in ward 171 (Antop Hill). Vanu secured 2,123 votes, losing by a narrow margin to Chaube's 2,303 votes.

A surprise victory for the Shiv Sena was that of its youngest candidate 22-year-old Anusha Valpadasi from the traditional Congress bastion of Dharavi. A significant loss for the NCP was that of its sitting corporator Kaptan Mallik who lost to Independent candidate Vijay Tandel by a narrow margin of 167 votes.

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