Lok Sabha elections: Which AAP candidate will take on Priya Dutt, Poonam Mahajan?
With the wave of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sweeping erratically through parts of the nation, many potential candidates have come forward to represent the party in the Lok Sabha elections.
Meanwhile, AAP’s Meera Sanyal for South Mumbai was busy campaigning at Nepeansea Road yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
While it has been more than a month since AAP declared its nominees for North West Mumbai, North East Mumbai and South Mumbai, it seems that they are facing difficulty zeroing in on a suitable candidate for North Central Mumbai.
The North Central constituency is currently represented by Priya Dutt from Congress. BJP has already declared Poonam Mahajan’s candidature for the seat, while Abu Asim Azmi is a probable candidate from the Samajwadi Party.
According to an anonymous source, AAP is likely to field a celebrity, but has been unable to find a strong candidate who can go against Dutt and Mahajan.
A few names doing the rounds include Aftab Siddiqui, president of ALM 55 of Khar (W); Shakeel Ahmed, an AAP member; and a Bollywood comedian whose name has not been disclosed yet. The party is looking for candidates who can represent the minority community, which has mostly been Priya Dutt’s vote base.
The constituency has heavy minority pockets, which includes Bandra (E) slums, Sakinaka belt, Kurla, Nehru Nagar and Kamani areas. “Siddiqui is pushing hard for her candidature, but some party members are not too keen,” said the source.
Since Priya Dutt has a stronghold in the North Central constituency, it will be a challenging task for any other candidate to wrest it from her. The only time any other party has won this seat is when there was no candidate contesting from the Dutt family.
Meanwhile, the entry of Poonam Mahajan will make the contest quite interesting, as it has given voice to the RSS cadre from the Maharashtrian belt of the constituency.
However, AAP has been targeting the urban middle class and with areas like Bandra, Khar and Kalina, they can expect strong support for the party.
According to Preeti Sharma Menon, spokesperson of AAP, they have shortlisted and forwarded the names of candidates to the central committee for their approval. “We are awaiting the nod from Delhi.
I’m not at the liberty to discuss the names of candidates, but we are expecting to make the announcement in a day or two.” A source from the party says that it is most likely to field the Bollywood comedian from the constituency.
A central battle
Another challenging constituency for AAP will be Mumbai South Central. The seat is currently represented by Eknath Gaikwad of Congress, with Rahul Shewale of Shiv Sena and Aaditya Shirodkar of MNS in the fray.
>> The seat is currently with Priya Dutt of Congress
>> BJP has announced Poonam Mahajan’s candidature
>> According to sources, AAP is looking for a famous Bollywood face