BJP on poaching spree for Mission 45

Jan 14, 2023 12:51 AM IST

Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has set the ball rolling to achieve its Mission 45 (to win 45 Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra in 2024)

Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has set the ball rolling to achieve its Mission 45 (to win 45 Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra in 2024). Satyajeet Tambe’s revolt against his own party, when he decided to file the nominations as an Independent candidate for the Nashik graduate constituency on Thursday, is believed to be a part of BJP’s long-term plan to attract fresh blood from the opposition.

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Insiders say that the party has put its focus on western Maharashtra – a stronghold of Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Next on the party’s radar are former minister of state, Vishwajeet Kadam, and former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s son and former minister Amit Deshmukh.

At a book release event in Pune last week, Kadam had greeted deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis by touching his feet. Kadam’s unusual gesture was noteworthy – his father-in-law, Pune-based industrialist Avinash Bhosale, is in custody of the enforcement directorate. Many in political circles are joining the dots and speculating that he may be headed for BJP in the near future.

On Wednesday, former minister and BJP MLA Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar said the Deshmukh brothers – Amit and his MLA brother Dhiraj -- were keen to jump ship, to cover up their ‘corruption’ but his party was not in a mood to entertain them. On Thursday, BJP’s Sangli MP Sanjay Patil gave an open invitation to the brothers. Amit, however, had said, “Instead of giving us an invitation, Sanjay Patil should return to his party (NCP) and it would be an appropriate step for him.”

Amit’s retort has not quelled speculation of poaching. A BJP leader, requesting anonymity, pointed to a likelihood of a repeat of the 2019 ahead of the upcoming local body polls and general elections in 2024. “We are clearly weak in some parts of the state, including western Maharashtra and districts like Latur. If the big leaders shift their loyalties during the local body polls – which are like mini assembly elections -- it will help us help strengthen our ground for general elections,” said the leader.

BJP state unit chief, Chandrashekhar Bawankule said, “There are many Congress leaders and workers dying to join our party from booth to the Lok Sabha level. Others from the opposition will join BJP in the near future.”


    Surendra P Gangan is Senior Assistant Editor with political bureau of Hindustan Times’ Mumbai Edition. He covers state politics and Maharashtra government’s administrative stories. Reports on the developments in finances, agriculture, social sectors among others.

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