State BJP president Raosaheb Danve, who took charge Thursday, reiterated the party’s unaccomplished agenda of “shat pratishat (100 per cent) BJP” and said he would work to achieve that in the coming days. Notwithstanding its alliance with the Shiv Sena, the new BJP president said his priority was to strengthen the organisational base to enable them to contest all 288 seats in the next assembly elections.
BJP national president Amit Shah has already conveyed the party’s expansion plan to state leaders with a strict warning that there could not be any compromise on delivery. As a result, even though the next elections are scheduled only in 2019, Danve reckons that five years is not a long period as there are still over 10,000 villages where BJP has no presence. Out of the 288 assembly constituencies, the party failed on 166 in the 2014 elections.
Danve said: “Sena and BJP are in alliance in the state. But my task is to consolidate the gains for the party. In the coming days, my effort would be to make the BJP reach every village across Maharashtra.” He ruled out the possibility of an alliance with the Sena in the local bodies polls beginning March 2015.
Danve explained: “In the local bodies elections, every party has been contesting on its own. However, if there is a demand from district or local leaders for an alliance, it would be considered. The condition would be to confine the alliance only between Sena and BJP.”
He categorically said there could not be any alliance with Congress or NCP in the local bodies polls. “I am very clear that Congress and NCP are our rivals. BJP will not enter into any alliance with them for the local bodies elections ,” he said.
Danve said while his role would be to play the bridge between the Devendra Fadnavis-led government and the party, efforts would be made not to enter into any acrimony with the Shiv Sena. “Over the last three decades, BJP and Shiv Sena have learnt the art of co-existence while retaining their individual identity,” he said.
The Shiv Sena, too, did not appear perturbed. “We are aware of the BJP’s agenda of contesting alone. We know its plans to expand and come to power on its own. However, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray too has plans to strengthen the organisation. Last month when he addressed the MLAs, he also told us to work for expansion of Sena,” said a senior Sena cabinet minister who did not wish to be named.