Just as the Maratha community holds silent protest rallies across the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party reached out to the community on Saturday by inducting a prominent Maratha face from western Maharashtra — Samarjeetsinh Ghatge — in the party.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis further sweetened the deal by nominating Ghatge, son of an influential sugar baron VikramSinh Ghatge of Kolhapur, as the chairman of a government-run statutory corporation in Pune.
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The move comes at a time when Kolhapur is preparing for the upcoming civic polls and Ghatge’s appointment could provide BJP an extended support for Kolhapur civic polls.
“BJP will remain on number one position across the state during the nagar parishads and nagar panchayat elections,” claimed Raosaheb Danve Patil, state BJP president who was present at the press briefing held at YB Chavan Pratisthan at Nariman point on Saturday, along with state Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil.
After nominating Sambhaji Raje, descendant of Chattrapati Shivaji and Rajarshi Shahu, to Rajya Sabha, this appears to be another move by the BJP keeping in mind the political undercurrents in the state when the Maratha reservation issue is again gaining ground.
Political observers also see this move as an attempt by the BJP to strengthen its presence in the Maratha-dominated Western Maharashtra region which is seen as the fortress of the Nationalist Congress Party. About distribution of seats in the upcoming civic polls and an alliance with Shiv Sena, Patil said, “ We are not at all thinking of breaking the alliance with the Sena. We have given freedom to our party workers to take decisions at the local level. And so our allies should stop giving repeated threats of breaking the alliance. In the past few years, BJP has emerged as a stronger party and the seats should be distributed considering this. Even Sena must demand seats keeping their strength in mind. Sena should also understand that BJP is the number one party nationally,” Danve Patil said.