The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not losing sight of its ‘shat pratishat’ slogan, with the Maharashtra’s top leadership on Wednesday making it clear they were eyeing a win in all constituencies they had lost in the last assembly polls.
At the meeting with 104 party candidates who lost the state assembly polls i n October 2014, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and state unit BJP president Raosaheb Danve indicated these leaders were being viewed as future party legislators.
“You are our future MLAs and not defeated candidates. You will be entrusted with more responsibilities and opportunities in the coming years,” Fadnavis said. The chief minister asked those present to focus on the party’s organisational efforts and work on its drive to enrol 1 crore new members.
With BJP and Sena contesting elections separately, the allies in the assembly polls had emerged as main rivals in many constituencies, especially in the Mumbai-Thane belt, Marathwada and Vidarbha.
Many of those who lost the polls are candidates who got tickets in the last phase in seats that had been contested by Shiv Sena over the last 15 years. There was a scramble for candidates for these seats as the party’s organisational presence in these constituencies was weak.
Danve said, “Continue working in your constituencies, spreading the party’s base and you will be rewarded. If you disappear for three years and then seek tickets, it will be difficult.”
The party president had said that there was no contradiction in having an alliance in the government and harbouring ambitions of 100% BJP power in the state.
“We have been playing second fiddle to the Sena for too long now. One of the tasks of this BJP-led government is also to ensure that the party spreads its base across the state in the Opposition space as well as Sena strongholds,’’ a senior party functionary said.