In keeping with party president Amit Shah’s guidelines, the Maharashtra unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has started inducting leaders from other parties, but on condition that they would be expelled if any charge of corruption levelled against them when they were in power is proved.
Shah, who was in Mumbai on Thursday, said leaders from other parties were welcome to the BJP, but they should be of good character and popular. Party leaders said they have started screening leaders for misconduct in personal or public life.
According to the BJP, many of the leaders did not want the BJP to give them poll tickets, but just wished to work as its member.
After inducting former ministers Baban Pachpute and Madhav Kinhalkar (NCP); ex-union minister Suryakanta Patil (NCP), ex-MLA Ramesh Adaskar ( NCP), and ex- MP Bhaskar Khatgaonkar (Congress), the BJP will get Dr Vijaykumar Gavit in the party on Saturday. Gavit and his daughter Heena had rebelled against the NCP in the Lok Sabha elections. Heena had managed to emerge victorious against the Congress in Nandurbar.
“At least 33 sitting and former legislators, including two from Nashik, and a couple of sitting ministers are interested in joining the BJP. As we are using filters to screen them carefully, their induction would take some time,” said Opposition leader in the assembly Eknath Khadse.
Dismissing the charges of misappropriation of funds in the Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojna against Gavit, Khadse said, “Charges against Pachpute have not been proved. Many leaders [in other parties] face similar charges.”
On Friday, BJP ex- MLA Dilip Yelgaonkar (Man-Khatao, Satara) returned to the party fold.
Khadse said the BJP has a clear policy on fielding imports, where it has not won elections in the past 25 years. “We will not field turncoats in areas where we have our candidates. People like Khatgaonkar and Kinhalkar have told us they don’t want to contest the polls, but would ensure the BJP’s victory in their respective areas.”