The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday made it official that sitting MP Kirit Somaiya would not be re-nominated from the Mumbai North East constituency in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The party will field BJP corporator Manoj Kotak from that seat.

The party had reportedly been delaying its decision on that seat because its ally, the Shiv Sena, had registered stiff opposition to Somaiya’s candidature. Somaiya had represented Mumbai North East Parliament in 1999 as well as 2014.

On March 28, Sena MLA Sunil Raut had threatened to contest as an Independent from Mumbai North East if the BJP selected Kirit Somaiya as its candidate from there. Somaiya and the Shiv Sena have gone head-to-head on several issues in recent years. Somaiya has also openly hit out at Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray.

Somaiya told ANI that he would support Kotak. “[I’m] Very happy that Manoj Kotak ji standing with me here has got the ticket,” he said. “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.”

After several rough patches in their alliance, the BJP and Shiv Sena confirmed that they would contest the 2019 elections together. They said that the BJP would contest 25 of 48 seats in Maharashtra, while Sena would fight from the remaining 23. In Mumbai, BJP has put up candidates in three seats, while Sena is fighting from one. The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. Voting in Mumbai is scheduled for April 29.

Uttar Pradesh key seats announced

The BJP also announced candidates from other key seats in Uttar Pradesh in its 16th list, released on Wednesday. In Azamgarh, it has nominated Bhojpuri actor and singer Dinesh Lal Yadav, who will compete with Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav. In Mainpuri, it has fielded Prem Singh Shakya. Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav is also contesting that seat.

The BJP’s candidate for Rae Bareli is Dinesh Pratap Singh, who will go up against Congress leader Sonia Gandhi. In Machhlishahr, sitting BJP MP Ram Charitra Nishad has been replaced with VP Saroj. The Firozabad candidate is Chandra Sen Jadun, who will fight Samajwadi Party sitting MP Akshay Yadav.