MUMBAI: Ahead of the 2024 Lok sabha elections, the Opposition in Maharashtra suspects a mega ‘Operation Lotus’ to poach some of its leaders and induct them into the BJP.
The speculation was triggered by BJP minister Girish Mahajan, who is close to deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. He said there will be a “big political earthquake in the state.”
He also hinted that several Opposition leaders were keen to join the BJP as they saw no future in the “demoralized opposition.” Mahajan’s remark drew strength from the recent expulsion of state Congress leader Ulhas Patil and his daughter Varsha Ulhas. The buzz is that both are likely to join the BJP.
Sources said either of them can be the BJP candidate for 2024 Lok Sabha elections from the Raver constituency in place of sitting MP Raksha Khadse, the daughter-in-law of NCP leader Eknath Khadse.
Rumours doing the rounds have it that the BJP has been in touch with several Congress leaders, and some of them are “confirmed” to leave the party and join the BJP.
“Operation Lotus will gather pace as the parliamentary polls draw closer and the poll code is declared,” said a source. State Congress chief Nana Patole has charged the BJP-led government with Central agency probe/notice and even arrest of some leaders.
“The BJP is blackmailing the Opposition leaders. We will not succumb to the pressure tactics. We will continue to fight against the BJP tyranny,” Patole said.
Earlier former state Congress minister Sushil Kuamr Shinde claimed that the BJP had given him an offer to join the party twice, but he declined. “Congress is like my mother so I will not ditch it for power. We will continue to fight,” Shinde said.