Free Press Journal

Disquiet in BJP over red carpet for tainted outsiders


Party  spokesperson Madhav Bhandari does not see anything wrong in inducting such people since there is no election at hand

Mumbai : Talk of tainted MNS leader Pravin Darekar joining the BJP has given rise to discontent among party workers who feel it is in contradiction to Modi’s corruption-free party claim. However, party spokesperson Madhav Bhandari does not see anything wrong in inducting Darekar since there is no election at hand.

Darekar is chairman of the Mumbai District Central Co-operative Bank, which is under the scanner for allegations of financial irregularities involving crores of rupees and is currently being investigated by the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai police. The EOW has already arrested three people in the case.

The other tainted leaders whose entry into the BJP has led to disquiet among workers are Ram Kadam, Rajan Teli, Babanrao Pachpute and Vijaykumar Gavit. Gavit won from Nandurbar and Kadam won from Ghatkopar on a BJP ticket.

Kadam was recently booked for criminal intimidation after a complaint was lodged by Shiv Sena leader Sudhir More. Earlier this year, a case was filed against him for kidnapping and voluntarily causing hurt since Kadam and his supporters had allegedly beaten up some Dalit youths. The youths had questioned the Kadam’s initiative to exhibit Lord Buddha’s ashes.  Since Kadam has not been convicted yet, he was given the BJP ticket from Ghatkopar constituency and won. In fact, it is Kadam who is rumoured to be trying to rope in his former colleague Pravin Darekar.

On the other hand, Teli, an aide of Congress heavyweight Narayan Rane, was accused of killing NCP leader Satyavijay Bhise in 2004 but the allegations haven’t been proved. He was given the BJP ticket from Sawantwadi this time but lost to Shiv Sena’a Deepak Kesarkar. Even ex-NCP minister Babanrao Pachpute, who was contesting on a BJP ticket, lost to NCP rival Rahul Jagtap in the Shrigonda constituency. Pachpute, who was the Tribal Affairs Minister in the Congress-NCP government, has been accused of graft in the Tribal Development Scam where products meant for the welfare of tribals were bought at higher costs to benefit the dealers. In fact it was the BJP who came down heavily on him back then.

The other ex-minister facing corruption allegations is Vijaykumar Gavit, who won on a BJP ticket from Nandurbar this time. Gavit has allegations of misappropriation in government welfare schemes including Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana, National Senior Citizen Pension Scheme and Indira Gandhi Landless Agriculture Scheme. This was allegedly committed in Nadurbar between 1999 and 2002 when he was the state tribal development minister and guardian minister.

When asked why tainted candidates were roped in before the assembly elections, BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, “This has only happened in a few places where we did not have an option. The break-up in the alliance resulted in tickets being distributed at short notice. But we also shouldn’t forget that every leader has admirers as well as critics.”

Bhandari, who first said that he did not know anything about Darekar being inducted into the party, later said that even if he is, it doesn’t matter since there is no upcoming election. However, when asked if Darekar will be given a party post, Bhandari went back to saying that he doesn’t know anything about it.

As of Rajan Teli being given a ticket, Bhandari asserted that these are fictitious cases filed out of political vendetta.

Tanvi Deshpande

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