Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis
Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai BJP has yet again junked party veterans Eknath Khadse, Pankaja Munde, Vinod Tawde, Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Prakash Mehta and gave nominations to new faces including Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil (Maratha), Gopichand Padalkar, Praveen Datke and Ajit Gopchhade (OBCs) for the ensuing election to the Maharashtra Legislative Council slated for May 21. The party will contest 4 of the five seats.

By nominating Padalkar, Datke and Gopchhade, the party has sent out a clear message that it will nurture and project new OBC leadership instead of relying on the old guards in its revival in Maharashtra. Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has made the nominations in finalising the list of candidates.

As expected, Khadse slammed BJP and hinted his displeasure Fadnavis for not giving him the candidature. Khadse, who was denied ticket in the assembly election held in 2019, expressed shock over party’s decision to Padalkar who had boycotted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll rallies. ‘’I worked with full sincerity for BJP for four decades and seen many ups and downs.

I had shown my interest to the party leadership for nomination. However, the party gave candidature to Mohite Patil who left NCP ahead of assembly election and joined BJP. It shows in which direction the party is moving,’’ said Khadse.

Munde, who is the former minister and daughter of party veteran Gopinath Munde lost to her cousin and NCP nominee Dhananjay Munde in Parliament seat, had staged a rebellion of sorts questioning Fadnavis and party leadership towards her neglect.

She also expressed her surprise over how the news of her quitting the party ahead of assembly poll was released in the media. She was expecting a rehabilitation but denied the nomination.

Incidentally, Mohite-Patilis a former NCP MP, who crossed over to BJP in the run-up to the assembly poll and was quite desperately waiting for his nomination.

His father and former NCP MP Vijaysinh Mohite Patil though claimed that his son had not officially joined, and BJP had worked for BJP nominee in the Lok Sabha poll.

Padalkar was rewarded for contesting on BJP ticket against NCP veteran Ajit Pawar in Baramati assembly seat. Padalkar had lost his deposit while Ajit Pawar won with a record margin. Tawde, Bawankule and Mehta had no choice but to further slog for the party.

Further, the party has not nominated former Congress minister Harshvardhan Patil, who contested as BJP nominee in his home turf Indapur and lost to NCP candidate Datta Bharne. Patil, who nurtured good rapport with the former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, was aspirant for his nomination.

The party has renominated Prithviraj Deshmukh who was the member of the upper house for one and a half years. Deshmukh will continue to be the BJP’s Sangli district chief junks old guns, new faces come up

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