Suspense continues over re-nomination of Poonam Mahajan from North Central Mumbai seat

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Mumbai, March 26 (IANS) Even as BJP has declared its candidates in 23 seats including two constituencies in Mumbai (North and North East), suspense continued over the re-nomination of sitting MP and BJP veteran Pramod Mahajan’s daughter Poonam Mahajan in the North Central Mumbai.

Poonam had won the seat in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections defeating the Congress nominees.

Party leaders and cadres from North Central Mumbai, which comprises 38 per cent Marathi speaking population, 22 per cent Muslims, 18-20 per cent North Indians, have appealed to the Delhi high command and state leadership to take a call at the earliest while opposing imposition of an outsider.

Apart from Poonam, names which are doing the rounds include, Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar and party legislator from Vile Parle Parag Alavani who is a two-term legislator.

A section of the party leaders and functionaries have questioned Poonam’s performance and her disconnect with the voters in the last five years.

However, some others have strongly pitched for the renomination of Poonam, saying that the opposition will target BJP to end the Pramod Mahajan era in the constituency if she is denied the ticket as it will ultimately affect the party’s prospects. They have categorically said that being the Marathi-dominated constituency, Poonam should be given yet another chance instead of bringing someone from the outside.

Shelar, who is currently busy in the implementation of the party’s poll management strategy in Mumbai by increasing the outreach with voters, has reportedly expressed his inability to contest the general elections citing the organisational work. Shelar is keen to fight the upcoming assembly elections as he eyes a ministerial berth in the state cabinet.

On the other hand, Alavani, who has been the party’s election in-charge for the North Central Mumbai constituency in the last four elections, has not openly staked his claim but is not averse to contest the election if nominated. Alavani has cordial relations with Poonam as well as Shelar, and he is associated with 27 Kabaddi associations apart from his presence in political, cultural and social organisations.

A senior leader said, ‘’This election is not merely to talk about performance but about electing the BJP-led government at the Centre for Narendra Modi to become the country’s Prime Minister for the third consecutive term. Every seat is important to achieve the target of 400 plus across the country. The party leadership should quickly decide so that the poll machinery can be further activated.’’

North Central Mumbai comprises Vile Parle (BJP), Bandra West (BJP), Bandra East (Congress), Kalina (Shiv Sena UBT), Chandivali (Shinde faction) and Kurla (SC) (Shinde faction) Assembly segments.

During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Poonam polled 486672 votes (53.97 per cent) defeating Congress nominee Priya Dutt who got 356667 votes (39.55 per cent). In the 2014 elections, Poonam, who entered into the electoral fray for the first time, had got 478535 votes (56.61 per cent) against Congress candidate Priya Dutt who polled 291764 votes (34.52 per cent).



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