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BJP fields 26/11 counsel Ujjwal Nikam from Mumbai North Central

Mumbai: The BJP has denied renomination to its two-term sitting MP Poonam Mahajan from the Mumbai North Central Lok Sabha constituency and fielded prominent lawyer Ujjwal Nikam — who served as the Special Public Prosecutor in several high-profile cases, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks — from the seat.

With Nikam’s nomination, the suspense is finally over the BJP’s candidature for the high-profile seat, including those of sitting MP Mahajan, Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar, singer Anuradha Paudwal, and actress Madhuri Dixit.

Nikam is pitted against Congress nominee Varsha Gaikwad, whose nomination was announced on Thursday.

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Some sources claimed the BJP dropped Mahajan due to an adverse poll survey on her winning prospects. By nominating Nikam, the party has put up a new face from the seat who represents the ‘Marathi Manoos’.

Marathi-speaking people consist 38 per cent of the population in the Mumbai North Central region, followed by 22 per cent Muslims, and 18-20 per cent people from North India, among others.

Both Nikam and Gaikwad will make efforts to woo the Marathi voters.

Incidentally, former Chief Minister and Shiv Sena (UBT) President Uddhav Thackeray, who resides in Bandra East, has already announced that he will vote for Gaikwad.

North Central Mumbai comprises Vile Parle (BJP), Bandra West (BJP), Bandra East (Congress), Kalina (Shiv Sena-UBT), Chandivali (Shiv Sena), and Kurla (SC seat, Shiv Sena) Assembly segments.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Mahajan polled 4,86,672 votes (53.97 per cent) to defeat Congress nominee Priya Dutt, who got 3,56,667 votes (39.55 per cent).

In 2014, Mahajan, who entered the poll fray for the first time, had got 4,78,535 votes (56.61 per cent) against Congress’ Priya Dutt, who managed 2,91,764 votes (34.52 per cent).

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