Trade union leader Shashank Rao joins JD(U) in Maharashtra
With both Congress and NCP currently demoralised, the JD(U) plans to present itself as an alternative to the Bharatiya Janata Paty (BJP) and the Shiv Sena.mumbai Updated: Apr 11, 2017 00:12 IST
Looking to expand its base in Maharashtra, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) admitted trade union leader Shashank Rao into the party on Monday.
Kumar will be addressing a public meeting on April 22 in Mumbai, announcing the party’s arrival in Maharashtra. In the meeting, Kumar is expected to present himself as someone who has the might to take on the BJP, after his high profile victory in the Bihar assembly polls. With both Congress and NCP currently demoralised, the JD(U) plans to present itself as an alternative to the Bharatiya Janata Paty (BJP) and the Shiv Sena.
Son of late union leader Sharad Rao, Shashank heads the unions of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST), hawkers, and taxis and autorickshaws.In recent times, Shashank had organised taxi and autorickshaw strikes, and was able to extract benefits for the drivers.
According to Shashank, who quit the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to join the JD(U), it was a sort of homecoming. “I have been brought up with a socialist ideology, and veteran socialist leaders like George Fernandes have always been a part of our family,” said Shashank. “We will utilise all our union strength to build up the party in the state,” he added.
Teachers’ union leader, Kapil Patil, who is currently heading the party in the state, said that Nitish Kumar will be the mascot of the party and JD(U) will spread itself across the state in the next two years. “Currently, our focus is to build a strong organisation and present ourselves as an alternative to the BJP-Sena government. We have a Bihar model in front of us, where along with development, there is no discrimination, and progress is for all,” said Patil.
However, political analysts doubt the impact of JD(U) in the state’s complex political tangle. “Nitish Kumar may be admired in Maharashtra for his administrative skills, but he doesn’t have the appeal to translate this into votes,” said eminent political commentator Prakash Bal. “In recent times, Maharashtra witnessed a four cornered fight, and JD (U) will only get lost in this chaos,” he added.