MUMBAI: Nationalist Congress Party’s Lok Sabha member from Satara Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale joined the BJP at union home minister Amit Shah’s residence in Delhi on Saturday morning.
The development represented the peak of what several other leaders in the state have done over the past year – switching loyalties. Most of them have said that their concern for the people has led them to take the step. But, a careful analysis shows that it actually is the concern for their fiefdom.
Records from Maharashtra legislature show that 22 members, from both the houses, have resigned over the past year. Eleven of them are from the NCP and Nine from the Congress. There are also others – past ministers, past MPs, members of local bodies, leaders of party cells… there are a host of them. Everybody has his or her own reason for the decision.
In the case of Udayanraje, the thirteenth direct descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the case might be a bit different. He was a minister in the Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra between 1995-99, but had always maintained that which party he identifies himself with doesn’t really matter.
“BJP, Shiv Sena, RPI, Congress, NCP, whoever, I don’t care a damn. I am the high command here. Let them ignore me if they have the guts,” he has said last year. Yet, now the “pressure from the people to side with Modi,” is his reason for switching the party.
“Though there are several cases and controversies involving him, that is unlikely to be his reason for switching over to the ruling side. He had been living with those for past several years,” said Sambhaji Deshmukh, one of his supporters from Satara.
But, that is not the case with all others.
Padmasinh Patil from Osmanabad, former minister and a close relative of Sharad Pawar, has a murder case pending against him.
Also, the BJP-Shiv Sena’s increasing power in the district has forced him to join BJP in hope to save his son Rana Jagjeet Singh’s political future, people from his constituency say. He, however, maintains that he joined BJP “to pursue the development agenda”. He also blamed the factionalism within the NCP for Rana’s defeat in Lok Sabha election.
Ganesh Naik’s case is not different in Navi Mumbai. He had the challenge to maintain his power in the Municipal Corporation.
“We had told dada (Naik) to switch over to BJP in 2014. But, he didn’t listen to us. As a result, his son lost Lok Sabha election and he lost assembly election. Now, that he realised that if he doesn’t join BJP he will not even be able to maintain the power in Corporation, he agreed to us,” said Ram Vichare, a contractor and aides of Naik.
The case of Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil might be considered a bit different. His political influence in Solapur district was being systematically destroyed in NCP.
Issue of political career of son Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil was very much there. But, projects like Krishna-Bhima stabilizations, which can prove to be the game changers for the region, were systematically ignored during 15 years of UPA rule and got impetus during Fadnavis regimen, proved to be the key changers.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s politics of lending support to opponents of his satraps to keep them busy in their own areas, appears to have made the self-goal. The cases of Congress leaders Harshwardhan Patil from Indapur in Pune district or Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil in Ahmednagar district fall under this category.
In case of several others, whose politics always revolved around a strong pole in state politics, the weak opposition left them with no option but to switch to the ruling side.
“Why should we take all the load. Ultimately we too have to survive,” said a prominent Congress leader on condition of anonymity, which clearly shows the degradation of the opposition parties.
While repeated defeats have demoralised the parties, lack of firm ideology and coherent program to implement the ideology in changing political weather appears to be the real trouble with the opposition in the state.
There is also a qualitative difference between the leaders who have joined the BJP and those who sided with the Shiv Sena.
Those with comparatively clean image and are out of Shiv Sena’s sphere of influence have joined the BJP. On the contrary, those rejected by the BJP, for any of the numerous reasons like a bad public image, adversities from local cadre, RSS veto, or even political compulsions etc., have all joined the Shiv Sena.
Narayan Rane is the only leader whose entry to the BJP was first vetoed by the RSS and then the Shiv Sena.
Former Congress minister Rajendra Gavit who is Shiv Sena MP from Palghar and Narendra Patil who contested Lok Sabha against UdayanRaje Bhosale as Shiv Sena candidate can be considered BJP plants in the party. The switching over of loyalties is that way a very complex business.
Who went where and why?
- Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil (Ahmednagar) – Congress to BJP – cornered by Pawar’s politics. Left with no option.
- Kalidas Kolambkar (Seori, Mumbai) – Congress to BJP – Likes BJP’s people centric politics.
- Nirmala Gavit (Igatpuri, Nashik) – Congress to BJP – Join the majority.
- Jaykumar Gore (Satara) – Congress to BJP – Suffocation due to internal politics of district Congress.
- Bhausaheb Kambale (Shrirampur, Ahmednagar) – Congress to Shiv Sena – Join the majority.
- Abdul Sattar (Sillod, Aurangabad) – Congress to Shiv Sena – Congress internal politics left no other option.
- Jaydutt Kshirsagar (Beed) – NCP- Shiv Sena – To escape political heavyweight Dhananjay Mund’s shadow.
- Pandurang Barora (Shahapur, Thane) – NCP to Shiv Sena – Join the majority.
- Awadhoot Tatkare (Shriwardhan, Raigad) – NCP to Shiv Sena - Join the majority.
- Bhaskar Jadhav (Guhagar, Ratnagiri) – NCP to Shiv Sena – Gharwapsi
- Dilip Sopal (Barshi, Solapur) – NCP to Shiv Sena - Join the majority.
- ShivendraSinh Raje Bhosale (Satara) – NCP to BJP – Like BJP’s development politics.
- Sandeep Naik (Airoli, Navi Mumbai) – NCP to BJP – Join the majority for political survival.
- Vaibhav Pichad (Akola, Ahmednagar) – NCP to BJP – Join the majority for political survival.
- Rana Jagjeet Singh Patil (Osmanabad) – NCP to BJP – Join the majority for political survival.
- Niranjan Dawkhare (Thane) – NCP to NJP – left with no option due to internal party politics.
- Harhawardhan Patil (Indapur, Pune) – Congress to BJP - cornered by Pawar’s politics. Left with no option.
- Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil and Ranjeetsinh Mohite Patil (Akluj, Solapur) – NCP to BJP - cornered by Pawar’s politics. Left with no option.
- Ganesh Naik (Navi Mumbai) – NCP to BJP - Impressed with PM Modi’s development-oriented politics.
- Dhananjay Mahadik (Kolhapur) – Congress to BJP - left with no other option due to internal party politics.
- Omraje Nimbalkar (Osmanabad) – Congress to Shiv Sena – To counter the NCP.
- Nivedita Mane and Dhairyashil Mane – NCP to Shiv Sena - cornered by Pawar’s politics. Left with no option.