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BJP facing troubles from allies, big and small, in Maharashtra

Mumbai city news: Farmers’ leader Raju Shetti has launched an offensive against the Devendra Fadnavis government demanding a better deal for farmers.

mumbai Updated: May 30, 2017 11:29 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Raju Shetti,BJP
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.(HT File)

As if the constant sniping by the Shiv Sena isn’t enough, the Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra is facing flak from some of its smaller allies who had helped it garner support among farmers and Marathas during the last election.

Farmers’ leader Raju Shetti, whose Swambhimani Paksha is part of the National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP, has launched an offensive against the Devendra Fadnavis government demanding a better deal for farmers. In fact, he is leading a big rally in Mumbai on Tuesday to mark the culmination of a “repentance march” he started from Pune more than a week ago.

The other troublesome ally for the BJP is Vinayak Mete, who has floated a new political party, the Bharatiya Sangram Parishad. Mete, who used to be associated with the Nationalist Congress Party, shifted alliance to the BJP in 2014 with his Maratha outfit, Shivsangram. He is now upset with the BJP for not making him a minister in the state government.

Shetti, an MP from Hathkanangale constituency of Kolhapur district, is also opposing chief minister Fadnavis’ pet Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Expressway, which has drawn criticism from the Shiv Sena too. The project is facing strong opposition from farmers whose land is sought to be acquired by the government. Shetti, who hasa following among farmers in western and central Maharashtra, has said his outfit is ready to shed blood in support of the farmers opposing the expressway.

Shetti may announce a parting of ways with the BJP government later in the day, during his rally in south Mumbai. Shetti’s anger with the BJP could also in part be fuelled by the troubles within his own party. The Paksha is on the verge of a split after MLA Sadabhau Khot, who was inducted in the Fadnavis government, has decided to distance himself from participating in to the ongoing protest march.

In the coming days, the BJP will have its hands full managing its allies to ensure no lasting damage is done politically.

Read: Plan your road commute better, farmers’ rally may lead to traffic snarls in Mumbai

Read: Swabhimani Paksha to hold rally for farm loan waiver in Mumbai today

First Published: May 30, 2017 11:29 IST