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BJP drops sitting MP Kirit Somaiya from Mumbai's North East seat after Shiv Sena's objections, fields Manoj Kotak instead

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday dropped the name of senior party leader and sitting MP from Mumbai's North East constituency Kirit Somaiya after ally Shiv Sena opposed his candidature and has decided to field Manoj Kotak instead from the seat.

The BJP on Wednesday released its 16th list of six candidates from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The list featured the name of Manoj Kotak, who will now contest from the North East seat. The saffron party has fielded Bhojpuri actor Dinesh Lal Yadav, popularly known as "Nirhua", to contest from Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh seat against Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav.

Shiv Sena's opposition to Somaiya is well known. Somaiya's criticism of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray did not go down well with the party cadre that had earlier said it would not support his candidature. Not only have the Sena cadre refused to campaign for Somaiya, but Sena MLA from Vikhroli, Sunil Raut, recently threatened to contest as an Independent if Somaiya is fielded from the seat again.

Even now, after the tables are turned, Uddhav has made it clear that he will not make amends with Somaiya.

With the larger picture of winning the Lok Sabha polls in mind, the Sena and the BJP patched up in February. But Somaiya ended up as a victim of that reconciliation, NDTV reported.

Welcoming BJP's decision, Somaiya said that he will support Manoj Kotak, adding that the party's main target is to ensure a second term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Somaiya is the only BJP parliamentarian in Mumbai not to be named as a candidate even though he was a popular leader and had very high visibility in his constituency.

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Updated Date: Apr 03, 2019 18:13:52 IST

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