Chhagan Bhujbal: rabble-rouser to leader with mass appeal | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Chhagan Bhujbal: rabble-rouser to leader with mass appeal

mumbai Updated: Oct 26, 2009 23:27 IST

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Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who would be sworn-in the post for a third time, is among the most popular leaders in the Sharad Pawar-led NCP and has come a long way from being a rabble-rouser in his Shiv Sena days.

Bhujbal split the Sena in 1991, taking around a dozen Sena MLAs to the Congress, then led by Sharad Pawar in Maharashtra.

At that time, unlike this Assembly elections, rebelling against the brute power of Sena chief Bal Thackeray was akin to signing one's own death warrant. But Bhujbal survived and went on to become a Pawar confidant.

In June 1999, when Pawar left Congress to form Nationalist Congress Party, Bhujbal left with him and was instrumental in building a well-oiled organisation from scratch.

There wasn't much time as the 1999 Assembly election was less than six months away. Yet, the NCP won 59 seats and cobbled together a coalition with Congress, smaller parties and a few Independents. Bhujbal became deputy chief minister.

Pawar named Bhujbal for the deputy chief minister's post for a second time in December last year after R R Patil resigned in the wake of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.