Nagpur: Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis has managed to get his confidant Pravin Darekar appointed as the leader of the opposition in the Maharashtra legislative council.
Much to their consternation, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veterans and loyalists Sujitsingh Thakur from Osmanabad district and former Mumbai unit chief Bhai Girkar have missed the boat.
Darekar, who joined the BJP after deserting the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, became Fadnavis’s blue-eyed boy in the BJP-led government in the state, from 2014-19.
A leading co-operative bank, of which Darekar is chairman, is lending money for the self-redevelopment of old buildings after a notification issued by the previous government.
His appointment comes even as discontent is brewing against Fadnavis in the BJP. Already, former ministers Eknath Khadse and Pankaja Munde have criticised the party leadership for its neglect of OBC leaders.
However, with Darekar’s appointment as leader of the opposition, the party has yet again reposed confidence in the leadership of Fadnavis.
Incidentally, the MVA government took the opportunity to expose the division in the BJP over Darekar’s selection. The leader of the house in the state council and senior Shiv Sena minister Subhash Desai read out a letter from the BJP, suggesting Thakur’s name for the post of the leader of opposition.
Desai wondered how Thakur’s name was replaced and taunted the BJP, saying the treasury benches were ready to welcome Thakur as the new leader of opposition.
Soon, Desai was joined by other treasury members, wanting to know what had forced the BJP to appoint an ‘outsider’, Darekar, bypassing genuine party leaders.
Meanwhile, Darekar, who has travelled from the Shiv Sena to the MNS and is now in the BJP, said after assuming the post, he would make efforts to take up issues like the farm crisis and unemployment, among others.
Darekar has come a long way — the son of a State Transport bus conductor, he entered politics as youth activist in the Shiv Sena and later, he shifted loyalties to MNS chief Raj Thackeray.
But bearing in mind the constraints on his growth in the MNS, Darekar swiftly migrated to the BJP and joined the Fadnavis camp.