The violence in Ghansoli has political overtones. It has been a simmering battle between the ‘sons of the soil’ and the immigrant Mathadis.
Since Mathadis have an influential vote bank in the newly-carved Airoli Assembly constituency, many of their leaders like Narendra Patil and Shashikant Shinde, (NCP), are keen to fight the elections from here.
Sources said NCP leader and irrigation minister Ajit Pawar is interested in roping in Mathadi leader and an MLA from Satara Shashikant Shinde or Narendra Patil from the Airoli constituency. Shinde’s Satara constituency is being deleted in the re-arrangement of constituencies.
But, the Agri-Koli communities who dominate the Navi Mumbai belt and are the ‘sons of the soil’ are bent on having the seat for them and do not want it to be claimed by the Mathadis. This war within the NCP and the ‘sons of soil’ spirit are said to be the reasons behind the clash, though primarily it is not the case. Some observers attribute the violence to the politics in APMC.
Navi Mumbai’s politicians kept away from the violence even though their workers tried to quell the mob and helped the families of injured.
NCP leader and environment minister Ganesh Naik and former mayor Sanjeev Naik did not visit the site of discord at all. Shiv Sena leader Tukaram Naik did appear on the scene but the cops ignored him.
Interestingly, the clash united some Shiv Sena and NCP workers who together fought against the Mathadis.