Lok Sabha Elections 2019: In Maharashtra, parties struggle to rein in rebels, pacify dissidents
The problem is not limited to just the opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), but extends to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena too.Updated: Apr 16, 2019 15:34 IST
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
With poll dates for other phases of Lok Sabha elections coming closer, political parties in Maharashtra are trying to rein in rebels and pacify the dissidents to avoid damage to prospects of their candidates. The problem is not limited to just the opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), but extends to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena too.
The problems at Congress and NCP started with Sujay Vikhe Patil, son of senior Congress leader and leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil joining the BJP to contest the polls from Ahmednagar Lok Sabha constituency. Following Sujay, Ranjitsinh, son of NCP heavyweight and sitting Member of Parliament (MP) from Madha constituency, Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, also joined the BJP last month .
Congress MLA from Sillod Assembly constituency in Aurangabad, Abdul Sattar, who was expecting candidature from Aurangabad Lok Sabha constituency, too, has quit the party. He has now declared support to Independent candidate Harshwardhan Jadhav, a Shiv Sena rebel contesting from the same seat. Significantly, the rebellion of Jadhav who is the son-in-law of state BJP chief Raosaheb Danve, has also stirred up trouble for sitting Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire.
Former Congress minister Satej Patil has publicly vowed to defeat ally the NCP’s candidate Dhanajay Mahadik who is contesting from Kolhapur Lok Sabha constituency. Patil is angry with Mahadik who had helped his cousin Amal Mahadik to defeat the former in Kolhapur south assembly constituency in the 2014 elections.
“Wherever we get such complaints, the district units are asked to submit their report. The party intervenes if we find that leaders have gone against the party’s policy or decision. The same rule will be applicable in Kolhapur as well,” said Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant.
The BJP too seems hit by rebellions. The party succeeded in persuading rebels in a few seats but is still struggling to set its house in order in Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon and Dindori constituencies.
Last week, the party had to face major embarrassment after two groups within the party clashed with each other in the presence of state water resources minister Girish Mahajan in Amalner, Jalgaon. The incident took place when a meeting was underway to support party candidate and MLA, Unmesh Patil. Supporters of Uday Wagh, district BJP president, thrashed the party’s former MLA BS Patil. Wagh was unhappy with the BJP replacing his wife Smita Wagh with Unmesh.
In Dindori constituency, the BJP denied candidature to sitting MP Harishchandra Chavan, who is in the fray as an Independent candidate against party candidate Bharati Pawar. In Nandurbar constituency, BJP leader Suhas Natawadkar has filed his nomination as an Independent. He was expecting a ticket from the party but the party chose sitting MP Heena Gavit instead. Natawadkar had contested on a BJP ticket unsuccessfully in the 2004 and 2009 polls.
In Dhule, BJP’s sitting MLA Anil Gote has quit the party. His revolt may impact the poll prospects of sitting MP and Union minister of state for defence, Subhash Bhamre.
In the Nashik Lok Sabha constituency too, former MLA Manikrao Kokate has filed his nomination papers as an Independent candidate, adding to the troubles of sitting Shiv Sena MP Hemant Godse. Kokate was trying to get candidature from the BJP.
“The chances on winning the Lok Sabha election as a BJP candidate are very high. The rebellion is not different with the human tendency to get advantage of the situation. We are trying to persuade the leaders and in many cases have succeeded as well,” said Madhav Bhandari, spokesperson, state BJP unit.
Bhandari was referring to Bhiwandi and Hingoli, where the rebels decided to withdraw their candidature following chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ intervention.
In Bhiwandi, Kunbi Sena leader Vishwanath Patil and rebel Shiv Sena leaders Suresh Mhatre and Yogesh Kathore agreed to withdraw their nominations. They had revolted against BJP candidate and sitting MP Kapil Patil. In Hingoli too, a local BJP leader Shivaji Jadhav, who has filed his nomination as an Independent candidate against Shiv Sena candidate Hemant Jadhav, declared he would withdraw after talks with Fadnavis and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Vinayak Mete, chief of Shiv Sangram party, an ally of the BJP, too has declared not to support BJP’s MP Pritam Munde from Beed constituency. Mete is not on good terms with the Munde family. Pritam is the daughter of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde. An irked chief minister Fadnavis has now issued an ultimatum to Mete.
“For only one seat — Aurangabad — the party candidate is facing rebellion. However, it is also a fact that the exit of any leader had no impact on the party. The same will happen in Harshwardhan Jadhav’s case,” said Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe.
First Published: Apr 16, 2019 15:34 IST