After their resounding victory in the Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has become the go-to party for several leaders from other parties. But that ends now.
In a bid to appease those within the party irked by this recent trend, BJP national president Amit Shah has asked the state BJP leaders to induct only those with elective merit. Sources said the ‘genuine’ BJP workers, especially in regions where leaders from other parties — mainly the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) — have recently joined, were upset because they fear the turncoats would deny them candidature in the assembly polls.
“Some defectors may have electoral merit, but then we have been very vocal against them.
Our party exposed them for corrupt practices when they held ministerial posts.
Unfortunately, we would be asked to campaign for them in the polls,” said a senior leader, who has sent a letter on this issue to party’s high command.
NCP leaders Babanrao Pachpute, Suryakanta Patil, Kisan Kathore, and ex-Congress MP Bhaskar Khatgaonkar (ex-CM Ashok Chavan’s brother-in-law) are expected to join the BJP soon. BJP leaders had accused Pachpute of corruption when he was a cabinet minister.
NCP’s Vijaykumar Gavit is expected to join the party soon. Local party workers are more than happy to have them because there was a lack of strong leadership in these areas.
Another leader said the poaching tactics ahead of the Lok Sabha might not work in the assembly polls. A member of the party’s core committee said there were many MLAs, ministers and senior leaders from the NCP and the Congress, who are eager to join BJP. “We need to be careful about getting them on board because most of them fear defeat at the hands of the BJP and want to save their political career,” he said.
Senior leader Vinod Tawde told HT that the BJP would always prefer ‘genuine’ BJP workers as official candidates. “No doubt, we are careful about the people who want to join us only for the poll tickets. We are ready to induct as many leaders/workers who want to work with us unconditionally.”