BJP candidate from Mumbai North East Kirit Somaiya said on Thursday that his only “weak point” was he was unable to reach out to Muslims. “My only weak point is Muslims. I am unable to break ice with them despite trying repeatedly. Leaders feel the Muslim community is staying away from the party and the party too is unable to approach the community,” he said.
Somaiya, who is pitted against sitting NCP MP Sanjay Dina Patil and AAP candidate Medha Patkar, won the seat in 2004. “A fear complex has developed, whatever be the reason. I am still trying to convince them to give the BJP a chance. Muzaffarnagar may have happened, but in this constituency, there has not been a single communal incident,” he said.
Campaigning outside Vikhroli railway station, he admitted that while railway issues cut across communities, he still has a huge Muslim vote bank to crack.
Muslims constitute almost 20 per cent of the voters in North East Mumbai. While Patkar has a big support base in Mankhurd, Trombay and slum pockets of Vikhroli’s Kannamwar Nagar among other areas, Shivaji Nagar, Govandi and Mankhurd have a high Muslim population.
“There are several issues that concern a constituency, like nullahs, roads, slums etc, but we are fighting parliamentary elections this time,” said Somaiya.