With her maiden attempt to carry forward her late father BJP leader Pramod Mahajan’s legacy ending in a whimper, Poonam Mahajan says she will work harder to ensure a win in next elections.
“My father lost the Lok Sabha elections in 1984 but he bounced back and won the next one. He is my inspiration. I will work harder,” Ms. Poonam said.
The BJP candidate from suburban Ghatkopar (West) constituency, who lost the elections to her nearest rival MNS candidate Ram Kadam, says she does not blame the party for her defeat.
“It is my defeat. I don’t blame the party. The fact is voters preferred MNS,” she said. Ms. Poonam Mahajan polled 31,609 votes while Mr. Kadam was declared victorious with 56,575 votes.
Asked if the resentment within local party functionaries like Praveen Chheda may have gone against her, Mr. Poonam said, “Everyone, including Chheda worked for me and Shiv Sena-BJP workers toiled for me.”
The tags of “inexperienced” and “an outsider” in Ghatkopar West Assembly constituency may have worked against her but Mr. Poonam dismisses these factors.
“This is one constituency where the number of Marathi voters was highest,” she says.
Ms. Pramod Mahajan had been “fighting, winning and losing” from this constituency since 1984, she said.
“I have known the entire area for several years now and I have a connection with people at the grassroots level,” she added.
The fact is, there was this “MNS wave” which swept away candidates like me, she said.
Asked if the wide reportage of her educational qualifications (her poll affidavit mentioned she is just a matriculate), may have worked against her, Ms. Poonam said, “It is not education but hard work that is important.”
On her plans of “nurturing” Ghatkopar constituency, Ms. Poonam said, “For me, the party is of utmost importance. Whatever the party tells me, I will do.”
“I will undertake a tour of all 48 Lok Sabha and 288 Assembly constituencies and work for BMC elections slated in two years,” she said.
The 29-year-old Ms. Poonam joined the BJP on October 31, 2006, after being goaded by her uncle Gopinath Munde, senior BJP leader and former deputy Chief Minister.
Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, she made efforts to register new and young voters in South Mumbai and was expecting to get the LS ticket from there but could not succeed.