Interesting election battle in Mumbai North-Central

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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) released its 10th list of candidates for 22 Lok Sabha seats across six states. The party named eight candidates for Bihar, seven for Rajasthan, two each in Maharashtra, Kerala and Gujarat and one in Jharkhand. In Mumbai, the party has fielded Phiroze Palkhivala, son of eminent jurist, the late Nani Palkhivala, from the Mumbai North-Central seat to take on two-time Congress MP Priya Dutt.

AAP has declared Sundar Balakrishnan as its candidate for the Mumbai South-Central seat to take on two-time Congress MP Eknath Gaikwad and Shiv Sena Yuva candidate Rahul Shewale. With this list, the total number of candidates declared by AAP in this fray has raisen to 339. Nani Palkhivala’s son is fielding against Priya Dutt from Mumbai North-Central by AAP. Nani Palkhivala who declined the offers to be on the Supreme Court bench, took up a government assignment in 1977 as India’s ambassador to the United States of America. An oft-overlooked aspect of life was his philanthropy. Perhaps, it speaks eloquently of what kind of a human being Nani Palkhivala was. Just few days are remaining for the ‘polling day’ and BJP has still not declared its full list of candidates. God knows, how these candidates will do their homework in their constituency. Recently, BJP announced its third list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has finally decided to field Pramod Mahajan’s daughter, Poonam, from Mumbai North-West after senior leader Kirit Somaiya refused to make way for her candidature from Mumbai North-East. She will take on Congress’s Priya Dutt in the Lok Sabha polls. If we talk about dynasty politics then BJP have fielded Pramod Mahajan’s daughter and Yashwant Sinha’s son for the Lok Sabha election. Have they done any work for the nation? Not mentioned anywhere! Where do we go from here? We should better find the answer soon. Just go thoroughly with the candidates’ profile in your constituency and then decide whom to elect. After 66 years of despair, your vote can still save this country. BJP has failed this time to make selection of appropriate candidates. Gopinath Munde has randomly distributed tickets as they want to lose elections, to avoid Narendra Modi from becoming prime minister. There are two political parties spending almost Rs. 500cr each for media space. There is another small party which is collecting Rs. 100/- as donations for survival.

Interestingly, it will be a case study for the students in future for sure that how this newly formed party is using the budgets and supporters of national parties for its own publicity and using media space. In spite of all such lavish advertisements, the poor candidate selections may harm BJP. Priya Dutt is a seasoned politician and has lots of good will of people in her constituency. She and her late father Sunil Dutt have worked tremendously for this constituency. She has a very strong vote bank here. Poonam Mahajan is famous for her page 3 appearance and she doesn’t know much about the constituency. After her father’s murder in 2006, Poonam Mahajan joined the BJP as a basic member of the party. With the favours from her uncle Gopinath Munde, she became national secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party. On 13 August 2010, Poonam Mahajan was made National Vice President of BJP Yuva Morcha. Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha is the youth wing of the parent body and as per internal constitution it elects/selects new team after every 3–5 years.

Priya Dutt has better goodwill and Poonam may not give her a tough fight. Let’s see, whether this election makes any difference here. Poonam’s only qualification is that she is the daughter of BJP’s master strategist late Pramod Mahajan. Presently, she is the national secretary of BJP. She contested 2009 assembly elections from Ghatkopar West constituency but lost to the MNS candidate Ram Kadam. Her uncle Gopinath Munde, was the former Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra when BJP-Shiv Sena coalition was in power. Gopinath Munde is known as a jittery minister and he could not hold the success of BJP in Maharashtra. Munde’s brother and nephew have joined NCP. Till Pramod Mahajan was there, BJP were having hold in Mumbai.

Before finalising Poonam Mahajan, BJP had approached actors such as Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini and Anupam Kher as they felt that only a celebrity or an actor would be able to take on Dutt who had won by massive margins of 1.7 lakh votes in the past elections. But despite the party’s persuasions, nobody agreed to take up the offer.

Priya Dutt Roncon, was first time elected to the 14th Lok Sabha from Mumbai North West constituency in by election on 22 November, 2005 after the sudden death of her father and representative of this area. She is currently representing Mumbai North Central constituency in the 15th Lok Sabha since 2009. Priya is the daughter of the late Bollywood actor and politician Sunil Dutt, and actress turned politician Nargis. Both her parents were elected to represent the Indian National Congress, and her father was a Sports Minister. Since her election, Priya has been appointed secretary of the All-India Congress Committee. Priya also runs a charity, The Nargis Dutt Memorial Charitable Trust. Dutt, a popular politician in the area, has undertaken several civic improvement initiatives in the constituency over the past five years and recently led an agitation demanding a cut in power tariff for Mumbai consumers. Local citizen activists view her as approachable, often attending local meets on civic issues.

It’s the constituency that has been closely watched ever since Congress MP Priya Dutt won the seat by over 3 lakh votes after her father Sunil Dutt’s death and a seat that Dutt retained in 2009 by polling more votes that the Shiv Sena-BJP and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena candidates. This time, the prestigious Mumbai constituency is set to see a battle between daughters of two politicians-Dutt and Mahajan. It is believed that not too many local BJP workers were willing to contest against Dutt. The Lok Sabha constituency covers six legislative assembly constituencies, of which, five are with the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party and one is held by the Shiv Sena, making the seat seem formidable for Dutt’s opponents. In 2009, Dutt had retained her seat with a margin of 1,74,554 votes with the BJP’s Mahesh Jethmalani winning 1,44,792 votes. BJP workers who have been assisting Mahajan in her on-ground activities are pinning their hopes on the suburbs’ upper middle and affluent population that, they believe, will turn up to vote in large numbers this time.

The BJP, on the other hand, is hopeful on capitalising on the “Modi wave” especially in the Gujarati-dominated localities of Vile Parle and Juhu and the alleged tensions between Dutt and a few MLAs from her constituency. The North Central seat covers the heart of Mumbai’s affluent suburbs-Bandra, Vile Parle and Juhu, a stretch that houses numerous businessmen and several Bollywood stars. Let’s see who rules in the end.

Vaidehi

Group Editor at NBC Pvt. Ltd.
Vaidehi, is an investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical hacker, Philanthropist, Author and an inspiration to many. She is Group Editor of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 4 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi daily tabloid – Mee Mumbaikar, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges, dedicated to IT industry, Indian news to the world and shipping industry, respectively. Besides the business perspective, she is an Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP), Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which she caters for her sister-concern Kaizen-India Infosec Solutions Pvt. Ltd.