In the Mumbai North Central Lok Sabha constituency the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sitting MP, Poonam Mahajan will once again face Congress’s Priya Dutt, who had lost in the 2014 election.
In the 2014 general election, Mahajan had defeated Dutt, the then sitting MP, by a margin of 1.86 lakh votes. Mahajan had polled 4,78,535 votes while Dutt was restricted to 2,91,764 votes.
While Mahajan, the daughter of BJP leader late Pramod Mahajan, is banking on the work carried out by her in the past five years, Dutt, the daughter of the late Bollywood superstar Sunil Dutt, says her fight is for “saving” democracy.
Mahajan told PTI that the BJP has made deep inroads into the constituency, which was once considered a Congress citadel.
Referring to the Mumbai civic body polls held in 2017, Mahajan claimed the BJP’s vote share from 2014 has increased, leaving the Congress far behind. Mahajan said she had spent her MPLAD fund on resolving housing issues of local residents and for construction of toilets.
“A total of 1,428 toilets have been constructed in areas like Bandra, Kurla and Chandivali,” the MP said, adding that she had worked for redevelopment of 20,000 MHADA (Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority) colonies having houses measuring 580 square feet.
“Similarly, 80,000 families will be rehabilitated from the Mumbai airport land,” she said.
Mahajan said slum-dwellers occupying the airport land in Kurla and Kalina areas will be relocated elsewhere while those living in Vakola and Vile Parle will be rehabilitated on 65 acres of redeveloped land.
- As per voter demographics, the constituency with around 18 Lakh voters is dominated by Marathi-speaking residents, followed by Muslims, north Indians, Gujaratis and Marwaris, Christians and south Indians. The six assembly segments are Vile Parle, Chandivali, Kurla, Kalina, Bandra East and Bandra West. Except Chandivali (Congress), the BJP holds rest of the assembly constituencies.
Dutt, who had won the 2005 Lok Sabha bypoll from Mumbai North West after her father’s death and 2009 elections from Mumbai North Central, said her fight is for those who believe in secularism and democracy.
“Everyone who is secular and believes in democracy has a responsibility to step forward and play an active role in saving it. I stand for the future of all children, including mine,” she said.
Asked to respond to the allegation that she snapped contact with voters and party workers after her 2014 defeat, Dutt said that’s not true.
“I have been working for people through Nargis Dutt Foundation,” she said.
Asked about her poll strategy, Dutt said she fights an election as a challenge and goes with the flow.
“I will soon share my manifesto with the people,” Dutt said, adding that she communicates her stand to the people and leaves the electoral outcome to their discretion.
If a Mumbai Congress leader is to be believed, Dutt seems a reluctant contestant who has not yet opened a central election office for campaigning even though the voting day, April 29, is drawing close. (PTI)