The legacy of actor-politician late Sunil Dutt ‘inherited’ by his daughter Priya Dutt, sitting MP and Congress nominee from Mumbai North Central Lok Sabha seat, is likely to be under threat with BJP candidate Poonam Mahajan and SP’s Farhan Azmi also in fray.
For the first time, the Dutt legacy is set to face stiff competition from Poonam Mahajan, BJP candidate and daughter of late Pramod Mahajan, besides Samajwadi Party’s Farhan Azmi aiming to grab a large chunk of four lakh Muslim and 2.5 lakh North Indian votes in the constituency, political observers said.
More than Congress, it was Sunil Dutt who held sway in the constituency for several years ever since he strode into political waters in 1984. While BJP had no cadre as Dutt’s victory was a forgone conclusion, they said.
“All the MLAs and corporators would be loyal to Sunil Dutt and there was a time when along with Dutt, all six Assembly segments would have Congress MLAs and also sizable corporators,” observers pointed out. But, according to them, the situation had changed now.
“The anti-incumbency factor is massive. Priya Dutt has no local support of MLAs. Kurla MLA Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan and Kalina MLA Kripashankar Singh were conspicuous by their absence when Priya filed her nominations.
Apart from Bandra west MLA Baba Siddique and Vile Parle legislator Krishna Hegde, Priya has no support from the local Congress cadre,” sources said. Whereas, BJP has fielded Poonam Mahajan, who has been active in politics for quite some time.
According to a BJP office-bearer from the constituency, “In 2009, the BJP morale was low. Lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani was new to politics. But, Poonam is a good choice. There is support for Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate and the local cadre is active,” he said. BJP sources said Poonam belonged to the anti-Vinod Tawde camp.