Reverse migration in Maharashtra Congress, NCP?
On Monday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar clarified the NCP has decided not to re-induct turncoats from Osmanabad, hinting at former MP and erstwhile close confidant Padmasinh Patil and his son Rana Jagjitsinh Patil.Updated: Oct 23, 2020, 04:40 IST
After Eknath Khadse’s switch from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the two ruling parties in the state – NCP and Congress – are considering taking back some legislators and leaders who had quit to join the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in 2019. The parties aim to increase the strength they lost in the elections and lure more legislators from the BJP to discourage any attempt to pull down the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
According to NCP insiders, the party’s top brass is working on it. “Several leaders who left the party are disappointed with the BJP. They have already approached the party leadership, expressing their desire to come back. Now, it is up to Pawarsaheb to decide who he wants back,” said a senior leader, requesting not to be named. “There is a lingering uncertainty about the stability of the MVA government comprising three parties. Sitting legislators would not join the ruling parties unless they are confident that the government will last its term. Currently, the focus would be on former legislators and heavyweights from the districts,” said an NCP minister.
The minister said that as part of mutual understanding between the three ruling parties, they will fight the Assembly by-elections together, if any sitting BJP MLA resigns to join them. “We want our strongholds back. This will be done step by step,” said a senior NCP leader.
On Monday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar clarified the NCP has decided not to re-induct turncoats from Osmanabad, hinting at former MP and erstwhile close confidant Padmasinh Patil and his son Rana Jagjitsinh Patil. Both were ministers in different Congress-NCP governments, but defected to the BJP in the run-up to the Assembly elections last year. Padmasinh Patil’s sister Sunetra is the wife of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. Patil was a long-time close aide of Pawar and had even handled responsibility as state president of Pawar-led Congress (S) before the outfit was merged with the Congress by Pawar.
“A deliberation is going on over re-induction. We are considering it and have taken some decisions as well. For instance, in Osmanabad there will be no entry for those who have left the party. Be happy wherever you are,” Pawar said categorically.
State NCP chief Jayant Patil on Wednesday said, “Many senior leaders want to join us. I had a discussion with a few. Their names will be disclosed at an appropriate time.”
Eight sitting MLAs, one sitting MP and many other leaders had left the NCP last year. While the NCP is banking on its citadel in western Maharashtra to poach leaders from the BJP to destabilise it, the Congress is eyeing ‘reverse migration’ from Marathwada and north Maharashtra, according to insiders. The Congress had lost its top position in district councils and municipal corporations to the BJP. “We are in touch with at least half a dozen sitting BJP MLAs and an equal number of mightier leaders from various regions in Maharashtra. Some of the leaders have been disillusioned. We are looking at heavyweights,” said a top Congress leader.
BJP vice-president Madhav Bhandari said the exodus to the ruling parties was their wishful thinking. “This is the lie being spread by the NCP and Congress. Why would sitting MLAs or MPs quit the party when four years of their term are still remaining. No sitting legislator would want a fresh election so soon. The ground reality is different from the picture being painted.”
Eighteen municipal corporations (of the total 27) and 26 district councils (of the total 34) will go to polls from February to October in 2022. With 1,100 corporators in 27 corporations, the BJP is way ahead in urban civic bodies, followed by Sena (489), Congress (439) and NCP (294). In ZPs, too, the BJP has the highest number of members.
Former BJP MLA Udesinh Padvi, who joined the NCP after he was denied ticket in 2019 Assembly polls, said there will be a reverse wave. “The elected representatives in ZPs, corporations, panchayat samitis representing BJP had joined the party during the past five years ahead of respective elections. I can speak only for north Maharashtra, but most of them will come back to the NCP and Congress,” Padvi, who represented Shahada constituency in Nandurbar, is a Khadse supporter and had quit the BJP after consulting him.