[Read: Top contests of 2014]
2009 result: Priya Dutt beat the BJP's Mahesh Ram Jethmalani by 1,74,555 votes.
Mumbai North Central constituency will go to the election on April 24.
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About Priya Dutt (Congress)
Priya Dutt, 46, was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 2005 from the Mumbai North West constituency after her father's death called for a by-poll. She had won against her opponent from the Shiv Sena by 1.71 lakh votes. In 2009, Dutt had polled more votes than the combine of the BJP-Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena candidates. She polled 48.1 per cent of the votes while Jethmalani got just 21 per cent of the vote share. Reports said not many local BJP leaders were eager to take on Priya Dutt from Mumbai North Central for she is a popular politician.
In January, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, who lives in Bandra which comes under Mumbai North Central, said whiel jointly addressing the reporters with Narendra Modi in Gujarat that his vote is for Priya Dutt. The politician, who is known for her social activities, has taken a lot of initiatives in her constituency over the last five years and also sought a reduction in power tariff for the consumers in Mumbai. Dutt is also an approachable leader, which also works in her favour.
About Poonam Mahajan (BJP)
Poonam Mahajan, 34, joined the BJP after the murder of her father. Her uncle Gopinath Munde, a former deputy chief minister of Maharahstra, had encouraged her to join the BJP. Poonam had lost the 2009 Maharashtra assembly election to her MNS opponent from Ghatkopar West. In 2010, she became the national vice-president of BJP Yuva Morcha. Poonam, who is the BJP's national secretary now, is married to Anand Rao Vejandla, a Hyderabad-based industrialist. It is also said that Mahajan's nomination was made to appease Munde who was upset that the party had overlooked him to give Devendra Fadnavis the responsibility to take political decisions in Maharahstra.
Analysis: The BJP is helping Mahajan at the ground level to ensure that the upper middle-class votes go her way. They are also expecting that the MNS does not spoil their chance by fielding a candidate from this seat. It is also hoping to cash in on differences between Dutt and some of the MLAs from her constituency. But having said that, Dutt is likely to continue her good show.