UNDER CRITICISM for inducting leaders with a criminal background in the party ahead of civic polls, BJP leader and Member of Parliament Sanjay Kakade said he was against the BJP inducting criminals and all the leaders who accompanied him to a courtesy visit to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis have never been convicted by any court.
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“The few political leaders of various parties who accompanied me to a courtesy visit to the chief minister have not been inducted into the party. The allegations that they have criminal backgrounds are false and no one has been convicted by any court,” Kakade said.
Kakade said he recently enabled induction of 18 leaders of various political parties in the BJP, while three sitting corporators of other political parties just made courtesy visits.
Speaking for those who had accompanied him, Kakade said, “NCP corporator Pintoo Dhawade has been acquitted of charges in 2007 and no criminal case has been registered against him in the last nine years. Similarly, other leaders portrayed as criminals have never been convicted in any case.” No one can be termed as a criminal until it is proven in the court, he added.
The BJP has eight MLAs, a Lok Sabha MP, while Kakade is a Rajya Sabha MP. The party has given specific responsibilities to each of them for the forthcoming civic polls so as to get the BJP in power in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), he added.
There are at least 20 sitting corporators of different parties willing to join the BJP, he said. “BJP does not have strong candidates in the suburbs and slums so the party is considering induction of sitting corporators or leaders of other parties from these areas but after ensuring that they have a clean image,” he added.
On Ajit Pawar’s allegation that the BJP using all possible means to win the forthcoming elections of local civic bodies, he said that the BJP runs on certain principles and would not compromise them.
Kakade said he was against pre-poll alliance with Shiv Sena in the PMC and would be conveying the same to the party leadership.
Incidentally, there was no senior city BJP leader at the press conference while only sitting corporator Rajendra Shilimkar accompanied him.