Dhairyasheel Mohite-Patil quits BJP, joins Sharad Pawar's NCP | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Dhairyasheel Mohite-Patil quits BJP, joins Sharad Pawar's NCP

Apr 13, 2024 09:20 AM IST

Mohite-Patil is expected to join the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Patil) where he will be fielded as its candidate from Madha, in Solapur

MUMBAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a setback in western Maharashtra on Friday as its district general secretary, Dhairyasheel Mohite-Patil, quit the party and is expected to join the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Patil) where he will be fielded as its candidate from Madha, in Solapur. In his resignation latter he said he was resigning from the post “for personal reasons”.

Mohite Patil with Sharad Pawar. HT Photo
Mohite Patil with Sharad Pawar. HT Photo

Madha became a sore spot for him as he was eyeing the constituency but BJP renominated MP Ranjeetsinh Naik Nimbalkar. Dhairyasheel, who belongs to one of the few powerful political families in Maharashtra, joined BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

After accepting the resignation, BJP state president Chandrashekar Bawankule, said, “We tried our best to ensure the Mohite-Patil family is respected. His resignation in the middle of elections fought for Modiji was not right.”

Dhairyasheel is expected to join NCP (SP) on April 14 and file his nomination on April 16. “Dhairyasheel met me today. He will join our party in two days in the presence of state unit chief Jayant Patil,” said Sharad Pawar, party chief.

The family enjoys political clout in Solapur district, as it runs over 100 schools, over half a dozen professional colleges and at least three to four sugar factories in the cooperative sector. The family, headed by former deputy chief minister Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, Dhairyasheel’s uncle, has supported his move, although his son and Dhariyasheel’s cousin Ranjeetsinh is a BJP MLC, who will stay with the party.

“As they wield influence in the area, this move will also help other opposition candidates in adjoining Pune and Satara districts. Besides, his supporters are all charged up, as the Mohite-Patils, who have been out of the political fray for 10 years, seem to suddenly have a fresh lease of life,” said an NCP (SP) leader, adding, this would be tough on BJP.

Jaysinh Mohite-Patil, Dhairyasheel’s uncle, said, “We are not scared of ED as we are not corrupt. Our institutions were in financial trouble but we have overcome those difficulties, with the help of Devendra Fadnavis. Now, we are in the battle for our political existence; this decision was taken in view of our workers’ and supporters’ sentiments.”

Meanwhile, following the development deputy chief ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar got into damage-control mode – both held meetings with local leaders of their respective parties on Friday. Fadnavis held a strategy meeting with Ranjeetsinh Nimbalkar and local MLA Jaykumar Gore in Nagpur. He also met BJP MLA Rahul Kul, who represents Daund, which falls in the Baramati constituency, sending out a message to the Ajit Pawar faction of NCP to tame its local leaders in Madha. NCP is looking to BJP for its support in Baramati where Sunetra Pawar is a candidate.

After meeting Fadnavis, Gore said BJP was prepared to go solo and win Madha, even if leaders from alliance partners failed to cooperate. “While we are seeking NCP’s support in Madha we have our own candidate in the fray. Most NCP leaders have been actively working for the alliance candidate, but the party is facing issues from some leaders in Phaltan and Mann. The top brass is working to resolve these problems,” said Gore.

Ajit Pawar met senior leader Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar, who has opposed Ranjeetsinh’s candidature, and local MLA Deepak Chavan driving home the fact that they will have to work for the alliance’s candidate. The faction’s state unit chief Sunil Tatkare said Madha and other constituencies were also discussed. “We met leaders from Mann, Khatao, Phaltan and Solapur, and have resolved to work for the ruling alliance’s candidate. Issues on Madha and other constituencies will be resolved soon,” said Tatkare.

Prakash Pawar, political analyst from Kolhapur said, “While Dhairyasheel defected as he was denied Madha, the overall wave in western Maharashtra is against the ruling BJP. It will be tough for the party to retain this constituency. Vijaysinh gauged the atmosphere correctly and decided that his nephew has fair chance of winning if he walked out. The family, except one member, has turned away from BJP not because of its policies but personal reasons.”

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