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Poonam Mahajan may fight ls polls from Mumbai Northeast

Earlier the BJP had planned to field Dr Subramanian Swamy, but Mahajan has emerged as a strong contender now.

Kiran Tare  Mumbai | 28th Dec 2013

Poonam Mahajan-Rao

he Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to field its national secretary Poonam Mahajan-Rao from the Mumbai Northeast Lok Sabha constituency. Earlier the party had planned to field Dr Subramanian Swamy. Now, however, Mahajan has emerged as a strong contender. "We are serious about Poonam's candidature from Mumbai Northeast. She also has shown interest in the constituency," a top Maharashtra BJP leader said.

Mahajan has already started working in the constituency. She has been attending functions and meeting workers for the last few months. A source said that the Maharashtra BJP president Devendra Phadnavis' campaign manager is helping Mahajan in building her network in the constituency. "She has identified a few people to take care of her campaign and image branding," the source said.

Mahajan wanted to contest the last Lok Sabha election from this constituency. However, according to sources, the then state president Nitin Gadkari denied her a ticket as he was unsure about her performance. Mahajan contested the state Assembly elections from the Ghatkopar (West) constituency but lost.

The source said that BJP leader Kirit Somaiya's back-to-back defeats from Mumbai Northeast worked in Mahajan's favour. The party has decided to not field anyone who has suffered back-to-back defeats in the same constituency. "Apart from that, Poonam has bridged the gap in her relations with Gadkari. She visited Nagpur frequently and is back on good terms with the RSS too. These factors are also working in her favour," the source said.

The party workers were apprehensive over Mahajan's candidature in the last election because they felt that she was inaccessible. However, the opinion is different now. "Workers have reservations about me that I am arrogant and do not give them time. I am not arrogant but I realised that there is a communication gap between party workers and I. I am working towards getting closer to them," Mahajan had told a very senior BJP leader a few months ago.

Nationalist Congress Party's Sanjay Patil is representing Mumbai Northeast at present. He had defeated Kirit Somaiya by 2,500 votes in 2009.

Mahajan's father, the late Pramod Mahajan had won from this constituency in 1996 in a triangular fight with Republican Party of India's Ramdas Athawale and Congress' Gurudas Kamat. Athawale's candidature had helped Mahajan win the seat as the non-BJP votes got divided. However, Mahajan lost the seat to Kamat in 1998 because Athawale did not contest that time.

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