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BJP’s state executive meet today: Farmers, graft allegations against Mehta may be discussed

mumbai Updated: Aug 17, 2017 09:37 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
BJP,Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),Lokayukta

The state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will hold its executive body meeting on Thursday, in the backdrop of several challenges faced by the Devendra Fadnavis-led government including a Lokayukta probe against one of its senior ministers Prakash Mehta.(HT)

The state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will hold its executive body meeting on Thursday, in the backdrop of several challenges faced by the Devendra Fadnavis-led government including a Lokayukta probe against one of its senior ministers Prakash Mehta, internal strife and ongoing farmers protests.

In a one-day meeting to be held in Borivili, the leadership is expected to review organizational milestones and adopt a political resolution besides one on farmers. Senior party leaders will address BJP’s local leadership and public representatives in the day but eyes will be on chief minister Fadnavis’ speech. The speech will lay out the future direction of the party, ahead of the 2019 polls and address sticky issues including graft allegations

Ahead of the meeting, speculation was rife over a possible change of gear in the state organisation with the ouster of party president Raosaheb Danve besides a discussion on dropping Mehta in the upcoming cabinet reshuffle. Mehta, the state housing minister is under the scanner over allegations of irregularity and graft in two slum redevelopment projects. However, last week, Fadnavis did not accept Mehta’s resignation indicating that the minister would be shielded. Sources close to the CM told HT that such changes were unlikely to be discussed at the executive body meeting.

“There are no plans to move out Danve as of now. He is a senior Maratha leader and had resigned from the central cabinet to come to the state. Even if the top leadership may be upset with him for past gaffes and poor performance, such a decision will not be taken publicly. Similarly, asking Mehta to go now after Fadnavis successfully handled the Opposition’s onslaught is unlikely unless there is a change of tack by the Delhi leadership,’’ said a BJP minister. Danve was elected for a second term as state president for three years until 2019 in 2016.

The speculation over such changes however points to internal factionalism within the party with senior leader and former minister Eknath Khadse openly bitter about his political exile. There is a section within the party that feels that the party leadership has not been consistent in dealing with allegations of graft. While Khadse was asked to resign from his ministerial portfolios in the wake of the probe against him, Mehta has been allowed to hold on to the post. Some leaders have termed this as difference in treatment between Marathi and Gujarati leaders in the party. There is also a degree of unhappiness among a section of leadership with the possible induction of Congress leader Narayan Rane. “This is a routine meeting to review the progress of the organization. This is not a review of the government or the ministers. In this meeting there will be deliberation on the organizational milestones and planning of future strategy ahead of 2019 polls. A resolution on farmers and a political one will be passed. That is all. Nothing else should be read into it,’’ said Danve.

Sources in the party said that the agrarian resolution will congratulate the state government for taking the decision of Rs 36,000 crore loan waiver. The political resolution is likely to chart out plans to expand party organization and demand action against big scams of the last government.

“The Opposition has no moral standing to make allegations against us. It is time to take action against their many scams including the irrigation scam,’’ said a senior BJP legislator.

A meet of state functionaries was held late on Wednesday night to discuss the schedule for the executive body meeting.

Meanwhile, 13 Congress corporators from Nanded Municipal Corporation joined the BJP in presence of state BJP chief Raosaheb Dance on Wednesday. The development comes as a blow for state Congress chief Ashok Chavan. Nanded is his hometown.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 01:47 IST