Kirit Somaiya, Prominent BJP Leader in Mumbai, Dropped from List of Contenders After Ally Shiv Sena's Opposition
The rivalry between Somaiya and Sena began after 2014 election when the ally criticised the ruling party on a host of issues.
File photo of BJP leader Kirit Somaiya.
New Delhi: The BJP on Wednesday dropped its sitting MP Kirit Somaiya, whose name was opposed by ally Shiv Sena, as its candidate from Mumbai North East and also announced its nominees for the Lok Sabha election against key opposition leaders like Sonia Gandhi of the Congress and SP's Akhilesh Yadav.
On Mumbai North East constituency, Shiv Sena had been bitterly opposed to Somaiya's candidature. And the BJP's decision to replace him with Manoj Kotal underscores its keenness to keep its Hindutva ally in good humour.
Somaiya, an old BJP hand and one of its leading speakers on economic issues in Parliament, had been a trenchant critic of the Sena.
"Somaiya has not maintained any ties with the people of his constituency. We see Matoshree (Thackeray's residence) as a temple. But if he makes allegations against it and calls (Thackeray) a mafia don, no one should even try to give him a ticket," Shiv Sena lawmaker Sunil Raut once said.
The rivalry between Somaiya and Sena began after 2014 election when the ally criticised the ruling party on a host of issues. In 2016, the BJP leader responded to Thackeray's dare to PM Modi to conduct "surgical strikes" on Swiss banks to bring back black money. He said Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Uddhav Thackeray should clarify if they were worried about poor people or those with "boxes of money".
Meanwhile, the party has also replaced sitting Machhlishahr MP Ram Charitra Nishad with V P Saroj. The BJP named Chandra Sen Jadun as its candidate from Firozabad.
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