Room for new in saffron fold
Without Pramod Mahajan, one-of-a-kind strategist and political impresario, the leadership equations in the BJP will change, particularly in Maharasthra.india Updated: May 04, 2006 01:34 IST
Without Pramod Mahajan, one-of-a-kind strategist and political impresario, the leadership equations in the BJP will change, particularly in Maharasthra.
So far, Mahajan had kept together state-level leaders of varying strengths and influences. At the same time, he ensured that the fragile alliance between the BJP and the Shiv Sena remained intact and as effective as ever. It was not an easy task in the difficult times of the Sangh Parivar.
Now the question is: who will gain from the post-Mahajan scenario? Leader Gopinath Munde, who is also Mahajan's brother-in-law, or Maharashtra BJP chief Nitin Gadkari. Different styles and backgrounds separate the two staunch Mahajan loyalists, who themselves are forces to reckon with.
Mahajan had significantly contributed to their careers, particularly of Munde. “Munde's relation and friendship with Mahajan had helped him a lot though nobody would deny him the status of a mass leader,” said a senior BJP leader, adding that the former deputy chief minister would now find it difficult to counter the detractors within the BJP.
With Mahajan’s support, Munde had reigned supreme even without any official designation. At times, it did not go down well with others like Gadkari, who followed the RSS school of thought. The rift between them had widened after Gadkari took over as state party president and Munde's favourite man replaced him as opposition leader in the legislative council.
In this situation, Gadkari fits the bill although he may not match Munde as an undisputed mass leader. He is a far better war-room strategist — the role Mahajan had played all his life in Maharashtra politics. Considering this, the BJP’s rank and file feel that Gadkari will be able to strike a healthy rapport with the Thackerays and help strengthen the saffron alliance.
Munde, on the other hand, has invited the Matoshree’s wrath with his attempts of snatching the opposition leadership from the Sena’s clutches.
The Sena leaders are now wondering how the relations of the alliance would be without Mahajan. Many BJP leaders are wondering who will step into Mahajan’s shoes now.
“We will have to work out a seat-sharing pact with the Sena for the BMC elections,” said a senior BJP leader.