Mumbai, Feb 4: Sena leader Amit Ghoda is facing an uphill task to retain the Palghar (ST) Assembly seat, which is witnessing a five-cornered contest.
This tribal seat was won by Amit's father late Krishna Ghoda in October 2014 assembly elections. Bypolls to the Palghar constituency is due to be held on February 13, while results will be announced on February 16. Amit is pitted against former Congress minister Rajendra Gavit and former Sena leader Manisha Nimkar, who is this time contesting on a Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) ticket.
Despite the BJP staying away from the election fray, Sena cadres are optimistic about the party retaining this seat. Besides Gavit and Nimkar, Ghoda is also facing challenge from Chandrakant Vartha (CPI-M) and Dileep A Dumada (Bahujan Mukti Party). Out of the total 2.47 lakh voters in the constituency, 1.27 lakh are male voters and 1.20 lakh are women.
There will be a total of 312 polling stations out of which two are auxillary polling stations. Prior to delimitation, Nimkar had represented the constituency as a Sena MLA. Later, Krishna Ghoda won the seat on a Congress ticket and then on a NCP ticket.
Gavit was victorious in 2009 elections defeating his nearest rival Manisha Nimkar (then Sena) by a margin of 20,791 votes. Again, late Krishna Ghoda (Sena) won the seat for Sena in 2014 defeating Gavit (Congress) by a margin of just 526 votes.
Gavit later challenged the election result in the court of law. However, in the intervening period, Ghoda passed away forcing a bye-election. A Sena source said that party president Uddhav Thackeray is likely to address a election rally in the poll-bound seat before campaigning ends on February 11.