Maharashtra: BJP MP Kirit Somaiya dropped as candidate; Here's why
The BJP has dropped Kirit Somaiya, its sitting Member of the Parliament from Mumbai North East, as a candidate for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. BJP's ally, Shiv Sena, was strongly opposed to the candidature of Somaiya, a prominent BJP lawmaker. BJP has fielded Manoj Kotak from the Mumbai North East constituency, replacing Somaiya, one of the most vocal critics of Sena. Here's more.
Somaiya only lawmaker to be dropped by BJP in Mumbai
Kirit Somaiya has been elected as an MP from the Mumbai North East constituency twice. BJP dropped him as a candidate amid immense pressure from its ally, Shiv Sena. Somaiya is the only MP to be dropped in Mumbai by the BJP, which is a "considerable sacrifice" for the party. Somaiya won the Mumbai North East seat in 2014 with a three lakh majority.
Only national president can comment on this matter: BJP spokesperson
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari, speaking on Somaiya being denied the ticket, said, "A lot of thought process goes into selection of a candidate. Only our national president can comment over why Somaiyaji is not fielded this time."
BJP, Shiv Sena patched up but Thackeray didn't forgive Somaiya
Over the past few years, 65-year-old Somaiya had reportedly criticized the Shiv Sena and defended BJP against the Shiv Sena's attacks following the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and Maharashtra elections. While the BJP and the Shiv Sena patched up in February ahead of the 2019 polls, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had reportedly refused to forgive Somaiya for his attacks.
Somaiya was denied an appointment with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray
Kirit Somaiya reportedly requested an appointment with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to resolve matters, but he was denied an appointment. Earlier, Somaiya warned he would expose the mafia in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and their "godfather", indirectly pointing to Thackeray. In 2016, too, Somaiya hit out sharply when Thackeray dared PM Modi to conduct surgical strikes on the Swiss banks and bring black money back.
Very happy that Manoj Kotak got the ticket: Somaiya
However, Somaiya said that he is very happy that Manoj Kotak has been fielded from the Mumbai North East constituency. He was quoted by ANI as saying, "Very happy that Manoj Kotak ji...has got the ticket. We all will support him and ensure he wins. Ultimately our aim is a second term for Modi ji. Responsibilities within party keep shifting, nothing new in it.