Mumbai: The BJP, which has now stopped issuing new deadlines for the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, on Tuesday faced a major embarrassment with Narayan Rane’s arrest.
Even though the BJP has disowned Rane’s ‘slap’ slur, it’s striving to defend the Union minister, who is the party’s new poster boy fielded to checkmate the Shiv Sena.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, amid criticism, announced they cannot support Narayan Rane’s statement but will remain with him.
Rane’s arrest and his glorification have led to a division in the BJP as traditional party leaders fear it will boomerang. Some also blame former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for promoting Rane. However, the old-timers claim it will give a handle to Shiv Sena to further increase its presence in the Konkan region.
A senior BJP leader from Mumbai, who has been associated with the party since its formation in 1980, told Free Press Journal, “The BJP wants to use Rane’s clout in a bid to increase its tally by eight to 10 seats in the state assembly from Mumbai and Konkan regions. Rane is capable of taking on the Sena, which has parted ways with the BJP and allied with the NCP and the Congress.”
Meanwhile, a veteran BJP leader, who was closely associated with late Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde, feared that Rane’s projection would be suicidal.
“The traditional and loyal BJP workers are unhappy as they feel the bubble will burst any time. The BJP will have to regain the confidence of loyal and committed workers for its growth. Their insult and neglect will cost the party heavily,” he noted.
Another leader asserted that the party should tweak its strategy soon as the clash between Rane and the Sena will dent BJP’s image further.