Will win three Lok Sabha seats in city: Congress

Priya Dutt decides to contest polls; Kripa is upset

Mumbai: After Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s tour to Mumbai on Friday, the party workers’ confidence gets a booster dose. The Mumbai Congress feels it can win three of the six Lok Sabha seats and hence, Priya Dutt, former member of Parliament (MP) has taken a U-turn and decided to contest the polls from Mumbai North-Central.

However, senior party leader and three-time legislator Kripashankar Singh is disappointed with Dutt’s sudden move. Reacting to the development, the senior party leader claimed the Congress would lose hope and could not win even a single seat, if groupism continued till the polls are over.

Dutt had announced not to contest any polls due to personal reason and had tendered resignation from all party posts last year. However, during the Gandhi’s rally, she was present at the airport and shared the dais with the Gandhi dynast. On Saturday, she announced to contest the polls from Mumbai North-Central, which she had earlier represented in 2009. At present, Poonam Mahajan of the Bharatiya Janata Party is the sitting MP.

Kripashankar Singh was preparing to contest from the same seat. “I did not force the party for any particular seat. I will accept the decision of the party president,” said Singh. However, according to party insiders, if Singh remains neutral, it is impossible for Dutt to win the polls. “Without the support of Singh and Naseem Khan, Dutt could not win the seat.

She does not have followers in the party, she is not available to the workers and that Singh was denied a ticket for Priya Dutt would send a wrong message across the Brahmin and Thakur communities in Mumbai,” said the observer. The communities have strong hold in Mumbai. He said, “The communities are with BJP in Uttar Pradesh and they will go against the Congress if it fields Dutt.”

The Mumbai Congress leaders opine if Varsha Gaikwad gets a ticket from Mumbai South-Central, the party could win the seat against Shiv Sena’s Rahul Shewale. North-West Mumbai became hurdle for the party. Represented and nurtured by late Gurudas Kamat and considered as a safe seat, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam has expressed interest in the seat. Whereas Singh too was interested in the seat.

“Gandhi did speak nothing about the candidature and that would be a big mistake. Except Nirupam, nobody began polling preparations. No banner, flags and pamphlets are ready to distribute in absence of a clear message from the party president. How can it win even a single seat,” a senior party leader asked.

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