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Why the BJP’s new CM picks are making party leaders in Maharashtra wary | Mumbai news

The way the BJP’s top bosses picked the chief ministers in the three recently-won states—Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh- has rattled many in Maharashtra BJP. The pattern in all three states was similar: Push aside the established lot and pick fresh faces to take charge. It was the only talking point in the legislature premises in Nagpur where the winter session is in progress. The discussions, not just in the state BJP circles but even among its allies, hovered around the subject: What will happen in Maharashtra if the BJP-led alliance returns to power after assembly elections next year?

Union Ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, BJP National President JP Nadda, Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel, Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami, Goa CM Pramod Sawant and Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde during the swearing-in ceremony of Rajasthan CM Bhajan Lal Sharma. (PTI)
Union Ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, BJP National President JP Nadda, Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel, Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami, Goa CM Pramod Sawant and Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde during the swearing-in ceremony of Rajasthan CM Bhajan Lal Sharma. (PTI)

If the party leadership continues with the trend of getting rid of the established lot, there is likely to be several new faces taking charge of top positions. This has made several senior leaders in state BJP wary about their future. The first step is likely to be seen during the next general elections when a few ministers and senior leaders would be asked to contest Lok Sabha polls, which would also mean shifting them out of state politics. Several sitting Members of Parliament are unlikely to be renominated. According to a senior party leader, the top brass is also keenly watching the developments around the Maratha agitation, which could affect plans of all political parties in the state. In a nutshell, nobody can now take the party top brass for granted as far as the BJP is concerned.

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Washing hands off or lack of coordination?

Lack of coordination is not something new in the ruling three-party alliance. Yet, the way the ruling alliance reacted last week when the Opposition cornered it over the Nawab Malik issue came as a surprise. That Malik, who is out on bail in a money laundering case, would be attending the proceedings in the winter session in Nagpur was not exactly a secret, considering the fact that the Speaker’s office had allotted him a seat on the treasury benches.

When he did indeed take his seat in the treasury benches, legislators from the ruling parties were initially maintaining that it was the prerogative of his party, Ajit Pawar-led NCP. They, however, changed their tone as soon as the Opposition began to attack the ruling parties, especially the BJP, by reminding its leaders what they had earlier said about Malik. This followed adverse reaction on social media from both critics and supporters of the BJP. This forced BJP and chief minister Eknath Shinde led Shiv Sena to distance themselves from the Malik issue. Fadnavis posted a letter sent by him to Ajit Pawar on his social media handle. Before long, Shinde too supported Fadnavis’ stand and cornered Ajit, who later told the media that Malik had not taken the decision to join either faction of the NCP. Ajit’s close aides said he was irked with the reaction of his allies but chose to keep quiet. He even skipped a dinner in Nagpur where the hosts had invited the who’s who of state politics.

Seeking divine intervention

The wife of a top politician in the state was seen visiting religious places in the past few days, probably hoping for a divine intervention to revive their political fortunes. What has raised eyebrows in political circles is that functionaries in a BJP-ruled state government ensured that her visit to a Himalayan state went off without any hassles. There are also speculations over whom she met during her visit to two states. The party her husband is leading is a rival of the BJP but there have been rumours that efforts are being made to build the bridges, once again.

Task for state Congress leaders

As the year-end holiday season begins, there is no respite for state Congress leaders. They have a major task in the form of ensuring that a rally planned to commemorate the party’s foundation day on December 28 at Nagpur is a massive one. The rally, to be addressed by former party presidents Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and current president Mallikarjun Kharge, is being considered significant for the Congress as it will be literally launching its campaign for the Lok Sabha elections after the drubbing it suffered in three states. Making the rally a grand success would be important in the party’s effort in sending a message to its support base that the party is not affected by the defeat. The onus for the same is now on Messrs Nana Patole and his colleagues. The state unit is aiming to gather a crowd of 10 lakh for the rally, for which all prominent leaders are being asked to do their bit.

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