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Tough fight between BJP and NCP in Mumbai NE

April 07, 2009 13:58 IST
The Mumbai North-East Lok Sabha constituency, which is bustling with almost 30 per cent of the development works in the city, including the ambitious Metro rail project, is set for a tough fight between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Nationalist Congress Party.

BJP candidate and former Member of Parliament Kirit Somaiya is contesting from the seat for the third time after he lost to Congress MP Gurudas Kamat in last Lok Sabha polls.

NCP Member of Legislative Assembly Sanjay Patil, who defeated senior Shiv Sena leader Liladhar Dake, is pitted against Somaiya. The constituency consists of six assembly segments of central suburbs, namely Mulund, Vikroli, Bhandup, Ghatkopar (West), Ghatkopar (East) and Mankhurd with 15.79 lakh voters.

The area has a significant presence of Gujaratis (1.5 lakh), traditional voters of BJP, but it also has considerable population of Marathis (2.5 lakh) and Muslims (1 lakh).

BJP saw an internal battle for the constituency when slain leader Pramod Mahajan's daughter Poonam demanded a Lok Sabha ticket and party leaders in Delhi favoured Somaiya, giving a blow to the Mahajan family and Poonam's uncle and BJP general secretary Gopinath Munde.

Munde, upset with the party's decision, had said he will not demand anything from the party for himself and the Mahajan family and will continue to work for it.

It was also reported that Rahul, son of Pramod Mahajan, would be contesting as an independent from the constituency, as he was angry with the party's decision to deny ticket to his sister.

With most development works aimed at making the city an international hub in progress, the constituency has become a prime location. The first phase of Metro rail from Charkop to Mankhurd passes through the constituency.

The work of fifth and sixth railway track on central railway stations is also in progress, set to usher in fast commute for lakhs of people travelling to south Mumbai.

Ghatkopar and Mankhurd Link road is another major project of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority in the area with a view to connect central and harbour suburbs.

The development process of about 300 acre of vacant salt pan land is waiting in the area. "I am focusing on delayed development works in the area during my campaign. There is need for a person like me who can take the issues to Delhi and get it done," Somaiya told PTI.

Asked whether he finds any threat from Poonam's ticket controversy or the NCP candidate, Somaiya said "No". "My work during last five years, when I was not an MP would speak through votes," he said.

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