Other States

BJP, Shiv Sena aim to isolate opposition bigwigs

As exodus continues, Congress, NCP leaders face a tough battle on home turf

Apart from boosting their chances to win the Assembly polls, the systematic recruitment of opposition leaders by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena aims to confine the bigwigs from the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to their respective bastions.

Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat, NCP leader Ajit Pawar, and Leader of Opposition (LoP) Dhananjay Munde are among a few opposition leaders, who are likely to face a tough fight on their home turf.

Mr. Chavan’s trusted aides Jaykumar Gore and Ranjeetsinha Nimbalkar have already left the Congress to join the BJP. MLC Anandrao Patil is also likely to resign from the party. Mr. Nimbalkar contested the Lok Sabha elections and won Madha for the BJP.

Mr. Gore is set to be the BJP candidate from Man Assembly constituency. Mr. Chavan has found himself fighting a lone battle in Satara district with BJP recruiting his key aides.

“The BJP does not want to see an opposition. I have never in my political career seen a party who misuses power to such an extent,” Mr. Chavan said.

In Ahmednagar, Mr. Thorat has remained a lone Congress MLA with former LoP Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Shrirampur MLA Bhausaheb Kamble switching loyalty to the BJP and Sena respectively. Mr. Vikhe-Patil, an arch rival of Mr. Thorat, has warned that the district will not see a single Congress MLA after the Assembly polls. Mr. Thorat is being forced to re-direct his workers and resources to ensure that he retains the Sangamner Assembly seat.

With former Indapur MLA Harshvardhan Patil joining the BJP, the difficulties for the Pawar family are set to increase in Baramati. Two days ago, BJP Maharashtra chief Chandrakant Patil inaugurated the campaign office in Baramati and warned the Pawar family that situation would worsen for them in the Assembly polls.

He has been personally managing the BJP campaign strategy for the region with focus on Ajit Pawar, who is an MLA from Baramati. Mr. Munde in Beed too is running out of senior allies with all joining hands with the BJP and Sena.

In Solapur, former CM Sushilkumar Shinde is now surrounded with his former party colleagues who have shifted loyalty to the saffron alliance. In Osmanabad, the BJP has recruited Rana Jagjitsinh Patil, the NCP’s sole face in the district, and the same has happened in Navi Mumbai with Ganesh Naik joining the BJP.

“We understand that the recruitment of our leaders is in a systematic manner. This is to damage our senior leaders, which will result in them being not able to divest attention anywhere else. We take it as a challenge and will face it,” Mr. Chavan said.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 1:24:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-shiv-sena-aim-to-isolate-oppn-bigwigs/article29395788.ece

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