Three-tier BJP blitz to take Sena head-on
By Abhijit Mulye | Published: 16th July 2017 09:36 AM |
MUMBAI: The BJP in Maharashtra is preparing itself to take the Shiv Sena head-on in the near future, if a senior minister in the state cabinet is to be believed.
After the three-day visit of party president Amit Shah last month, things have gained momentum against the party’s ally for over two decades and partner in the government.
While Shah had given instructions regarding things to be done to strengthen party organisation at the grass-root level, he has also given a nod to induction of Congress heavyweights such as Narayan Rane, a senior state minister said on condition of anonymity.
The grand plan of the BJP to take on the Sena would work on three levels. First, the BJP’s grass-roots organisation would be strengthened. This would include attempts to replace Shiv Sena in various small and micro social organisations such as the local groups (mandals) that celebrate socio-religious-cultural festivals—from Ganeshotsav to Shiv Jayani.
Strengthening party apparatus to be able to reach out to every family at the booth level is another mantra in this war. Around 10,000 party workers have been identified, who are given responsibility of around 10 polling booths each. They are expected to strengthen, and create wherever necessary the organisation of ‘page pramukhs’. They would be responsible for the voters on a page of voting list. They would identify the families, create a rapport with them, convey information on various government schemes applicable to the families and help them with getting benefits of the schemes.
According to the party’s analysis, the Congress lost miserably in 2014 elections because they ignored grassroots party organisation completely, the minister said, and added that the BJP has decided not to repeat that mistake.
The second level of the war on Sena would be on the level of the government. Under this, Sena would be blocked from taking credit for the government’s decisions such as the crop loan waiver. On the other hand, Sena ministers would be forced to take decision on controversial issues such as the land acquisition for Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi corridor that would affect vote base of Shiv Sena in Western Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha.
The third level of the war would be on the floor of the Assembly. Leaders such as Rane, who have the capacity to take on the Shiv Sena, would be inducted in the party primarily for this purpose. While discussing induction of Rane, the big issue was the portfolio to be offered to him. “However, now we are almost sure that whenever Rane would join the BJP, the Shiv Sena would quit the government. That would vacate 12 major portfolios. So, we are now waiting for things to happen,” the BJP minister said.
The minister also indicated that a few other senior Congress leaders such as the Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil too may join the BJP along with Rane.
When asked about the numbers in the Assembly, the minister said the party is confident of managing the numbers on the floor of the house. “If at all we fail in that, we will go in for mid-term polls. According to a recent survey, that the party had commissioned after the announcement of decision on loan waiver, the party can get 182 seats in the Assembly,” the minister said.