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Since 1st March, 1999
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Nagma loses in ‘close finish’

Mumbai/Delhi, April 2: No ticket for Nagma.

The actress has lost out to senior Congress leader Gurudas Kamat, who got the nod to contest from the Mumbai North West Lok Sabha seat, but not before what she said was a “close finish”.

While Nagma was trying to hide her disappointment, Sanjay Nirupam was delighted.

The Congress handed its Maharashtra unit spokesman a ticket from Mumbai North, the seat held by actor Govinda who earlier this week pulled out of the race blaming infighting within the party.

It will now be a straight fight between Nirupam and three-time BJP MP Ram Naik, whom Govinda had humbled last time.

Congress insiders said the party had also thought of fielding Nagma from Mumbai North but decided on Nirupam considering his appeal among north Indian voters.

Nirupam, who was targeted by actor Sanjay Dutt and Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh in a television interview last night, said he “always respected” Sunil Dutt, though he had contested against him in the last elections.

“I touched his feet when I met him in Parliament,” he said, responding to Sanjay’s comment that his late father had been pained to see Nirupam join the Congress.

Sanjay alleged that his father “died” after the Congress inducted Nirupam, a former Shiv Sena leader, against his wishes.

“Sanjay is a nice person, but is acting at the behest of someone who has a PhD in creating family feuds to malign the Congress party,” Nirupam said.

Nagma, who has campaigned for the Congress since 2004, said: “I am really happy that a young woman like me was seriously considered for the seat though senior party leaders were in the fray. But when Gurudas Kamat also entered the race, it was impossible that I could have made it. But it was a close finish.”

Kamat will take on the Samajwadi Party’s Abu Asim Azmi and the Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar in what could be a tough fight.

Asked if she would contest if the Congress offered her a seat in any other state, she said she was “keen on” Mumbai North West as she had been “born and brought up” there.

Sanjay post

Sanjay was made a Samajwadi general secretary today. The elevation came a day after the Supreme Court barred him from contesting.

Cornered by reporters on the “sting” he allegedly carried out on law minister H.R. Bharadwaj, Sanjay refused to name the minister. “What I said yesterday I said. Only one man can name the minister and that is Amar Singh, please ask him,” he said.

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