MUMBAI: After taking potshots at the party leadership, disgruntled elements within the Maharashtra BJP are now targeting senior leaders imported from other parties.
At a party meeting to understand the reasons for the defeat of 12 party candidates in North Maharashtra, senior BJP leader Ram Shinde along with others in Ahmednagar district fired salvos at Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.
“Vikhe-Patil is solely responsible for the party’s defeat in Ahmednagar district. He disturbs the atmosphere in whichever party he joins. That harms the party,” said Prof Ram Shinde, a former minister in the Fadnavis cabinet who lost from Karjat-Jamkhed assembly constituency to Rohit Pawar, grandson of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
The state BJP is currently conducting region-wise review meetings in an effort to analyse the reasons behind the party’s lower tally compared to the 2014 election.
A similar meeting was conducted at Nashik to examine the party’s performance in North Maharashtra.
“Before Vikhe-Patil joined the BJP, the party had 5 MLAs in the district. After Vikhe-Patil and Vaibhav Pichad joined the party the number went up to 7. Because of Vikhe-Patil’s influence, the numbers were expected to grow. But, it came down to 3 while Vikhe-Patil had assured the party leadership that the party shall win all the 12 seats in the district,” Shinde said.
Other former party MLAs like Snehalata Kolhe and Shivaji Kardile too toed Shinde’s line while blaming Vikhe-Patil.
However, they avoided blaming the party for their defeat, unlike two other leaders Pankaja Munde and Eknath Khadse a couple of days back.
“The party nominated me thrice. I was also made a minister. Hence, I won’t blame the party for the acts of an individual,” Shinde said.
“Even today the party heard us and gave us a chance to speak and express our opinions in a free and fair atmosphere. I’m sure party seniors would ponder over our opinions at the core committee meeting and actions too would be taken in accordance,” he added.
Former minister Ashish Shelar conducted the party meeting at Nashik.
“BJP lost 12 seats in North Maharashtra. The party has entrusted me with finding the reasons and submitting a report. Hence, we conducted the meeting today. Now, I shall send the report to seniors and accordingly appropriate action would be taken,” Shelar said after the meeting.
Pankaja Munde and Eknath Khadse had lashed out the party leadership on December 12, the birth anniversary of Gopinath Munde.
Meanwhile, RSS mouthpiece Tarun Bharat has dubbed the Munde-Khadse duo’s expletives against the party at the rally on Thursday as a “blatant display of ego”.
An editorial in the mouthpiece lashed out at the duo for “vitiating the atmosphere” just because their egos are not caressed by the party.