Samajwadi Party may field Abu Azmi against Priya Dutt

January 13th, 2009 - 8:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Jan 13 (IANS) The Samajwadi Party is planning to pit its Maharashtra unit chief Abu Asim Azmi against Priya Dutt from the Mumbai Northwest Lok Sabha constituency after naming her brother and Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt or his wife Manyata as its candidate from Lucknow.The prestigious seat in Mumbai was earlier represented by Priya Dutt’s father, late Sunil Dutt of the Congress, for five terms and briefly by the Shiv Sena which won it in 1996 and 1998.

Indicating the possibility of fielding Azmi against Priya Dutt, a Samajwadi Party office-bearer told IANS here Tuesday that it would prevent the Congress Lok Sabha member and her family from pressurising Sanjay Dutt against contesting the polls.

It could also ensure that Sanjay Dutt would not campaign for his sister.

At the same time, the party will be in a position to corner Priya Dutt by cutting into the votes of north Indians and Muslims who constitute a substantial chunk of the voters in the constituency.

From the opposition Bharatiya Janata party (BJP)-Shiv Sena alliance, the constituency falls in the quota for the Shiv Sena, which had won it thrice when Sunil Dutt declined to contest after Sanjay Dutt’s name cropped up in the March 1993 serial bomb blasts here.

Addressing a press meet, Azmi said that pending a possible alliance with the Congress in the state, it has decided to go ahead and prepare for contesting at least 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state, including four of the six in Mumbai.

Among these would be Mumbai South, Mumbai Northwest, Mumbai Northeast, Mumbai North-Central, Thane, Aurangabad and Yavatmal. The details of the three more constituencies would be announced later.

Asked about his possible candidature against Priya Dutt, Azmi said he would abide by the decision of the party leadership. “Party general secretary Amar Singh is expected to officially announced it over the weekend,” he added.

He accused the Congress of delaying a decision on a pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party. “We hope a decision on the alliance comes through by Jan 15. In that case, we would like to contest only five seats in the state,” Azmi said.

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