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Published 20:41 IST, May 6th 2024

Courtroom to Campaign Trail: Ujjwal Nikam, 26/11 Prosecutor, Is BJP Pick For Mumbai North Central

Mumbai North Central: BJP has dropped Poonam Mahajan and fielded Ujjwal Nikam, 26/11 prosecutor, as candidate from Mumbai North Central in Lok Sabha polls

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Former 26/11 Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam Makes Political Debut, BJP Picks Him for Mumbai North Central in Lok Sabha Race | Image: PTI
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New Delhi:  The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Ujjwal Nikam, the public prosecutor in the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks, as its candidate for the Mumbai North Central Lok Sabha constituency, replacing current MP Poonam Mahajan. Nikam was also the prosecutor in the murder case of Pramod Mahajan, the father of Poonam Mahajan, who was shot dead by his brother Pravin in April 2006 following a dispute. According to sources, while there had been signs for a while that Poonam Mahajan would be replaced, the party's quest for her successor caused the delay. 

Why Did The BJP Drop Poonam Mahajan? 

Reports are swirling with claims that the BJP is poised to replace incumbent MP Poonam Mahajan due to unfavourable ratings in various poll surveys. Amid discussions, Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar was considered but reportedly declined the opportunity to contest. Interestingly, there's speculation that Bollywood actor Madhuri Dixit was approached for the seat.   

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Ujjwal Nikam: A Look at His High-Profile Cases 

Ujjwal Nikam has been involved in several high-profile cases throughout his career. Some of the notable cases he has prosecuted include:-

  • Mumbai 1993 Bombings: Nikam was part of the prosecution team in the trial of those accused in the 1993 Bombay bombings, one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in India's history.
  • 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks: He served as the public prosecutor in the trial of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. His role in securing Kasab's conviction received widespread attention.
  • Pramod Mahajan Murder Case: Nikam prosecuted the case against Pravin Mahajan, who was convicted of murdering his brother, Pramod Mahajan, a senior BJP leader, in 2006.
  • Khairlanji Massacre: Nikam was involved in the prosecution of the accused in the Khairlanji massacre case, where four members of a Dalit family were brutally murdered in Maharashtra in 2006.
  • German Bakery Blast Case: He was the public prosecutor in the trial of those accused in the 2010 German Bakery blast in Pune, which resulted in several fatalities.
  • Malegaon Blast Case: Nikam was involved in prosecuting some of the accused in the 2006 Malegaon bombings case, which targeted a mosque in Maharashtra.
  • Gangster Chhota Rajan's Case: Nikam has also been involved in prosecuting cases against notorious gangster Chhota Rajan, including charges related to murder and extortion.

Mumbai North Central: Ujjwal Nikam vs Varsha Gaikwad 

With this, Mumbai North Central will be witnessing a fierce battle between Ujjwal Nikam and Congress' Varsha Gaikwad. Despite her initial disappointment at not receiving a ticket for the Mumbai South Central seat, which includes Dharavi, she has recently shown a willingness to move forward and focus on her candidacy for Mumbai North Central. Speaking to reporters, Gaikwad had exuded confidence about her chances of winning the seat in the upcoming election. 

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In the political history of Mumbai's North Central constituency, Poonam Mahajan clinched victories in both 2014 and 2019, defeating Congress stalwart Priya Dutt, who held the MP position from 2009 to 2014. Notably, the 2009 election witnessed prominent lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani as the BJP candidate, albeit unsuccessful against Priya Dutt. 

Mumbai is divided into two sections, comprising six constituencies: the city section includes Mumbai South and Mumbai South Central, while the suburban section consists of Mumbai North Central, Mumbai North East, Mumbai North West, and Mumbai North. Voting for these constituencies is slated for May 20, marking the fifth phase of the polls. The filing of nominations commenced on Friday and will continue until May 3.

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17:36 IST, April 27th 2024