The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will hold its two-day state executive meeting in Pune on June 18 and 19, with eyes firmly set on the upcoming poll season in the state that will culminate with the crucial Mumbai civic polls in February 2017.
The state executive meeting comes on the heels of the national executive held in Allahabad last week and will see the entire Maharashtra cabinet led by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in tow, along with senior party president Raosaheb Danve and other party functionaries. While Union minister for urban development Venkaiah Naidu will be present at the opening function of the state summit, Union minister of road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari will be present on the concluding day, to give the closing address to the party workers.
The summit is expected to move a political resolution on agriculture, given the ongoing agrarian crisis in the state. But, most importantly, the party cadre expects a clear signal on the saffron alliance ahead of the poll season that will see 26 zilla parishads or district councils that look after governance in rural areas and 10 municipal corporation elections from October 2016 to March 2017. This is seen as the BJP’s chance to win maximum rural local self-government bodies ahead of the 2019 elections, which have so far been dominated by the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra.
It can expect little help from the Sena in its electoral agenda, with its ally aggressively panning it on a range of issues from foreign policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trips to the state’s agrarian crisis and drought. It is being said the allies may split ahead of the crucial Mumbai polls, a hint on which is likely from the BJP state leadership.
The state huddle also comes just after the first BJP minister from state cabinet, Eknath Khadse, had to quit over charges of graft, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge.
After Khadse’s ouster, allegations of graft, irregular land deals and impropriety have been flying thick and fast against other BJP ministers and leaders, including water resources minister Girish Mahajan and state president Danve. Mahajan is considered to be close to the chief minister.
“We would like to play down the state summit, as there is an element of discontent and internal factionalism given the resignation of Khadse and this atmosphere of raking up of allegations against our ministers and even the state party president. In this backdrop, the CM is expected to make a strong statement supporting his cabinet and senior leaders,” said a senior party leader.