Mumbai North East: Still a question mark for BJP-Shiv Sena
While Mumbai’s candidates have started filing their nominations for the Lok Sabha elections from Tuesday, the BJP-Shiv Sena’s pick for Mumbai North East has not been announced yet.
Sitting MP Kirit Somaiya’s re-nomination has been a question mark owing to several reasons. While local Sena workers are against his candidature, sources said BJP’s top brass is also weighing its options for this seat. Last week, a Sena MLA from Vikhroli, Sunil Raut, also threatened to contest as an independent if BJP nominates Somaiya again.
The Sena is opposing Somaiya’s candidature because of the way he had targeted Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray during the 2017 civic polls. Somaiya had also dared Thackeray to make details of his properties public.
A BJP functionary close to the developments said, “The BJP’s top brass is also not keen on his candidature, which has also led to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis himself negotiating for Somaiya.”
However, Somaiya’s close aides said the leader is already campaigning from the constituency. He has been attending various party functions and also meeting people at housing societies and railway stations. Mumbai North East includes the areas of Mulund, Bhandup, Vikhroli, Mankhurd, Ghatkopar and Deonar, among others.
“We are just waiting for the announcement now. All workers are getting impatient,” a member from his team said. There are also rumours that Somaiya’s candidature will be announced on Gudi Padwa, the Maharashtrian New Year on April 6, when he will also file his nomination.
Meanwhile, BJP candidate from Mumbai North, Gopal Shetty filed his nomination on Tuesday. Shetty was accompanied by several party workers and office bearers of the BJP, including state education minister Vinod Tawde, BJP MLAs Atul Bhatkhalkar and Manisha Chaudhary, among others.
Party supporters also held a rally from Borivli West to Malad in support of their candidate, which saw participation of various communities from the area.
Candidates can file nominations until April 9. Mumbai goes to polls on April 29 and the results will be announced on May 23.