Former Congress MP from Wardha Datta Meghe and sons Sagar and Sameer resigned from the party on Monday, ending the brief spell of speculation over such a development. In a letter to MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre, Meghe said he was voluntarily quitting the party.
Reacting to the news, Thakre said here on Monday: “He is doing so despite the party giving him so much. Environment gets cleaned up when the elements vitiating it go away.”
Mehge said he was all set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party and the announcement would be made on July 5.
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In a press note, Meghe said: “I was disillusioned in the Congress as I could not deliver the promises made to my people due to the party leadership not hearing me out on my demands. I wish to work with Narendra Modi and dear friend Nitin Gadkari, who have vision for development, to contribute to the process of development and help the poor.”
Meghe, who is speculated to have been trying to join the BJP, was elected party MP from Wardha in the 2009 elections. In the 2014 elections, however, his son Sagar got the party ticket in a controversially fought primary pioneered by Rahul Gandhi.
Sagar, who was earlier in the BJP that had made him an MLC, however, lost to Ramdas Tadas of the BJP. Since then, the Meghes, who run a number of educational institutions including medical and engineering colleges in the region, have been yearning to join the BJP. Political grapevine has it that they had been lobbying hard with B’P’s newly-elected Nagpur MP Nitin Gadkari to facilitate this.
While Gadkari refused to commit anything on the matter during a press interaction on Sunday, only preferring to call Meghe “close friend”, sources close to him said Meghe had been having sittings with Gadkari for a possible induction into the party.
“Gadkari said he had given him such an offer before the elections but he (Meghe) did not heed the advice. But Gadkari is positive on taking the Meghes into the part”, said a source.
Asked if the BJP is indeed positive on Meghe’s joining the BJP, a senior party leader, who did not wish to be named, said “We are positive. But we are not sure when will that happen. For now, we cannot commit anythin”.
Meghe was originally with the Congress before defecting to the NCP when Sharad Pawar broke away from the Congress to form the new party. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Nagpur in 1991 and from Ramtek in 1996 on Congress ticket but lost to late Prabha Rau of the Congress in 1999 as an NCP nominee. He was then made an MLC and became a minister in the state cabinet. Later, the party sent him to the Rajya Sabha, but refused to repeat him for the next term.
Aggrieved, Meghe quit the NCP with tears in eyes, literally, and re-joined the Congress to get elected to the Lok Sabha in 2009 from Wardha. In 2014, he sought a chance for his son Sagar, who was made to fight a primary contest opposite Prabha Ru’s daughter Charulata Tokas. Even as allegations of rampant use of money power flew thick and fast and Tokas registered a protest in Delhi, Sagar emerged victorious but lost the real contest to BP’s Tadas.
Facing political oblivion, Meghe, now in his late seventies, is bidding to join the BJP to salvage his sagging political career and is speculated to be eyeing the position of governor. In the press note, however, he said he wanted to join the BJP only “to take the fruits of development to the lowest rung of the society and will do it without expecting any reward”.