Acting tough on party rebels who have thrown their hat in the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) election, the BJP Thursday suspended 46 partymen for six years. Seeking a third consecutive rule in the civic body of the state’s second capital, which is also prestigious for the party owing to its status of being the hometown of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Surface Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, the party didn’t spare even some of them who used to be hard core RSS cadre like Shripad Risaldar, who filed nomination against party veteran and leader in NMC Dayashankar Tiwari. RSS cadres who had joined the party were peeved at not getting tickets.
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Risaldar openly voiced his discontent over “injustice” meted out to those from the RSS cadres. While many other RSS cadres have backtracked following intensive pressuring and cajoling by the party, some of them like Bajrang Dal leader Shrikant Aglawe had resorted to sloganeering at Gadkari wada. Aglawe eventually didn’t enter the fray and has been spared from the suspension list. Among some others who were from the RSS and who had raised a banner of revolt included Vishakha Joshi, who has filed nominations from the Shiv Sena. She has also been suspended. Former BJP corporator Baba Maind’s wife Vishakha Maind, who is sitting BJP corporator, has also been suspended for filing her papers. Some of the RSS cadres like Subodh Acharya, who refrained from revolting, had accused the party of making selections on the basis of caste to ignore people like him.
City BJP president and South Nagpur MLA Sudhakar Kohle justified the suspensions saying those from the RSS cadre had only joined the BJP recently.
“Those going against the party’s interest were in for action against them. The party had made its choices based on seniority and winning potential and not on any other background. Those who claimed to be from RSS had only recently joined the party. Also, the accusation that outsiders were given tickets is not true since only two such selections were made in the list of 150 candidates – Pragati Patil and Yashashree Nandankar,” Kohle told The Indian Express.
Incidentally, Pragati is wife of Ajay Patil, who joined the BJP a few days ago after quitting as city NCP chief.
Asked why the scale of rebellion was so big, Kohle said, “The party is growing and everybody feels that he/she will have prospect of winning due to the party’s growing influence.”
Meanwhile, the BJP’s main rival, Congress, too, is also dogged by rebellion at the top, as against BJP’s ground level rebels. The party is divided vertically with former MP Vilas Muttemwar and Former Mayor Vikas Thakre who is facing stiff opposition from former MLAs and Ministers Satish Chaturvedi and Nitin Raut over the party’s selection of candidates allegedly done mainly by Thakre on the advice of Muttemwar. Sources said, “The discontent might soon lead to a full-scale poster war in the two groups.”
In the current 145-member house, the BJP has 62 and Congress 42 members. The BJP is ruling on account of over 100-member front comprising some other groups and Independents.