The BJP on Wednesday dropped its MP Kirit Somaiya from the Mumbai North-East parliamentary constituency understandably after the Shiv Sena opposed his candidature. The saffron party has fielded one Manoj Kotak from the seat instead.
Somaiya is the only sitting BJP MP in Mumbai to have been denied a ticket in this year’s polls. According to reports, Somaiya had reached out to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and senior party leadership to request him for a ticket, but he failed to convince them with his case.
The Mumbai North-East parliamentary seat has two Shiv Sena MLAs. The party led by Uddhav Thackeray also has a considerable supporters base here. The Shiv Sena was reportedly against Somaiya’s candidature because of his criticism for the party in the past.
Somaiya was seen sharply attacking the Sena chief in the last couple of years when the relationship between Thackeray and the BJP leadership worsened. Somaiya was seen launching a tirade against Thackeray every time the latter targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. However, both the BJP and the Sena made peace in February this year, but Thackeray refused to forgive Somaiya for his past utterances.
In one of his statements, Somaiya had threatened to expose the mafia in the Mumbai civic body and their ‘godfather’ in an alleged reference to Uddhav Thackeray. On another occasion, when Thackeray attacked Modi for the demonetisation announcement, Somaiya had equated Thackeray with Mayawati and Sharad Pawar asking if he was worried about his own black money.
There were reports that Somaiya made several attempts to reach out to Thackeray when he feared that his candidature was in jeopardy but the Sena chief refused to give him an appointment.
Several experts felt that this was a classic case of Modi-Shah duo dumping their colleague when he was of little use to the party. Mumbai-based senior journalist Nikhil Waghle wrote, “Finally,
@KiritSomaiya denied ticket. It goes with Modi-Shah’s use and throw policy!”
Somaiya, for his part, told NDTV that he was happy that his ‘younger brother’ Manoj Kotak had been given a ticket in his place. Kotak said that he will be seeking votes highlighting Somaiya’s good work in the constituency.
Somaiya’s episode illustrates why one mustn’t be reckless while supporting Modi and Shah, for they only care about winnability and loyalty means very little to them.
Elsewhere, the BJP also fielded famous Bhojpuri actor and singer Dinesh Lal Yadav, also known as Nirhua, from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh against Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav.