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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Lok Sabha elections 2024 Varsha Gaikwad is Congresss pick for Mumbai North Central

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Varsha Gaikwad is Congress’s pick for Mumbai North Central

Updated on: 26 April,2024 07:30 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

Insiders say party didn’t pick Muslim candidate as it would give fodder to BJP to polarise voters

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Varsha Gaikwad is Congress’s pick for Mumbai North Central

Varsha Gaikwad, the Congress candidate for the Mumbai North Central Lok Sabha constituency

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Lok Sabha elections 2024: Varsha Gaikwad is Congress’s pick for Mumbai North Central

The Congress ended an impasse in the Mumbai North Central Lok Sabha constituency by declaring the city party chief, and four-time MLA, Varsha Gaikwad as its official candidate. Gaikwad has pipped two senior Congress leaders—Arif Naseem Khan and Bhai Jagtap—on her way to candidacy. Muslims, who have a larger presence here, expected a ticket for Khan, a former MLA from Chandivli, which falls under the North Central constituency. Insiders said a Muslim candidate would have helped the BJP in polarising votes that the Congress didn't want to benefit its rivals.

Jagtap was also interested and confident about taking the field. The current MLC from the local self-government, he had won Assembly elections from different segments in the city. He headed the city Congress before Gaikwad. For Gaikwad, the ticket comes as a bonus where Priya Dutt had represented the party before BJP’s Poonam Mahajan won in 2014 and 2019. In fact, the MLA wanted to contest from Mumbai South Central under which her Dharavi Assembly segment falls. But the Shiv Sena (UBT) prevailed in seat-sharing and claimed it for its former MP Anil Desai. Gaikwad resented this and spoke out, but later found favour with party higher-ups.

BJP keeps up suspense

Close rivals, the BJP has not announced its candidate yet. Mahajan, the sitting MP, is vying for the nomination and a hat-trick of wins. The BJP is likely to announce its candidate any day soon because it now has an idea of who it will be fighting. Among prospective candidates are senior criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam and Vile Parle MLA Parag Alawani. Speculators said the BJP was wooing Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray’s personal assistant Milind Narvekar into contesting from here. However, Narvekar had denied any such possibility last week.

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