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CM Devendra Fadnavis and I will lead BJP in polls, will make Maharashtra ‘Congress-mukt’: Chandrakant Patil

Maharashtra’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief and revenue minister Chandrakant Patil has a long association with the RSS through his decade-long work with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in the 1980s, and is seen to be close to BJP president Amit Shah.

india Updated: Jul 18, 2019 08:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Newly appointed as Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil with CM Devendra Fadnavis at BJP Office at Nariman Point, in Mumbai.
Newly appointed as Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil with CM Devendra Fadnavis at BJP Office at Nariman Point, in Mumbai. (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)
         

In his first press interaction after he took over as Maharashtra’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief, revenue minister Chandrakant Patil said he and CM Devendra Fadnavis would lead the party in the Assembly elections. Patil also said his priority was to make Maharashtra “Congress mukt”.

“Fadnavis leads the party, and I have been appointed to lead the organisation. You can say both of us will lead the party into the polls,” said Patil. Is he a contender for the CM’s post? Walking a tightrope over the question, Patil said, “It’s not necessary for the state chief to become CM. In 2014, when Fadnavis was state chief, we did not have our government. Now, we have a government and our CM.”

Patil has a long association with the RSS through his decade-long work with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in the 1980s, and is seen to be close to BJP president Amit Shah. His aim, said Patil, was to strengthen the organisation and for this, he would take in people willing to join the party. It would not surprise him if any of the five executive Congress presidents joins the BJP, Patil said, taking a swipe at the Congress’s newly-appointed state leadership. The Congress last week appointed senior leader Balasaheb Thorat as the party’s new state chief, and five executive presidents.

Patil called himself a realist when asked if Baramati — home turf of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar — would vote for BJP in the polls. “Winning the constituency is a “daydream” for now,” he said, adding the BJP was planning to achieve that target in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. On the seat-sharing pact with Shiv Sena, and the controversy over who gets the CM’s post, Patil said these issues were taken care of by Shah, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Fadnavis, and that Patil was not privy to it. Patil, however, said seat-sharing talks would unfold progressively over the next month.

First Published: Jul 18, 2019 06:55 IST

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