Friday, October 23, 2009

Father-son duo clean sweep in Navi Mumbai

IT WAS a clean sweep for the Nationalist Congress Party in Navi Mumbai with the father-son duo of Ganesh Naik and Sandeep Naik emerging victorious in Belapur and Airoli, the two Assembly constituencies in the satellite city.
While it was a smooth ride for three-term MLA and state excise, labour and environment minister Ganesh Naik against BJP's Suresh Haware, son Sandeep Naik faced nervous moments as Shiv Sena's Vijay Chougule steadily garnered more votes in the initial phase of the counting. Despite having lost to Sandeep's brother Sanjeev Naik in the Thane constituency in the recent Lok Sabha elections by over 40,000 votes, the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance had again fielded Airoli corporator Chougule to challenge the Naik supremacy.
In what seemed like a neck-to-neck fight in the first 15 rounds of counting, the battle tilted heavily in favour of NMMC standing committee chairman Sandeep Naik. In the remaining eight rounds towards the end, Chougule suffered serious setbacks in Bonkode, Kopar Khairne and large parts of Vashi.
Chougule, at one point, saw a lead of 2200 votes against Naik when votes from Airoli were being counted. In the end, however, out of the total of 1, 57,751 valid votes cast in the constituency, Naik got a lead of 11,957 votes. Naik got 79,075 votes while Chougule managed 67,118.
When asked the reason for not securing a good number of votes from Airoli, Sandeep said, "All party workers have worked equally hard in all places. It is just natural that some people have a stronghold in certain areas. But since a majority of voters have shown trust in me, I will try to win over the rest of them too," Sandeep said.
Chougule, a former right hand man of Ganesh Naik left the party to rejoin Shiv Sena in 2007.

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