Mumbai: In a major political decision, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has denied a ticket to its sitting MP Kirit Somaiya from the Mumbai North East constituency and instead decided to field senior Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) corporator Manoj Kotak from there for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. The move is seen as the BJP bowing down to the pressure of its ally Shiv Sena, which had vehemently opposed Mr Somaiya’s re-nomination from the constituency.
The decision to drop Mr Somaiya from the BJP list was announced by the party’s Central Parliamentary Board in New Delhi. Mr Kotak, who is the group leader of the BJP in the civic body, will take on Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate and former MP Sanjay Dina Patil, who had lost to Mr Somaiya in the 2014 elections. The BJP also announced its nominees for the Lok Sabha election against key Opposition leaders like Sonia Gandhi of the Congress and SP’s Akhilesh Yadav.
The BJP has pitted well-known Bhojpuri actor and singer Dinesh Lal Yadav against Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav from Azamgarh.
It has fielded Prem Singh Shakya against Yadav’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav from Mainpuri.
The BJP has named Dinesh Pratap Singh, a local strongman who had left the Congress to join it last year, as its candidate against Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli.
The seat has long been a bastion of the Gandhi family with the former Congress president representing it in Lok Sabha since 2004. The party has replaced sitting Machhlishahr MP Ram Charitra Nishad with V.P. Saroj. On Mumbai North East constituency, Shiv Sena had been bitterly opposed to Somaiya’s candidature.
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