State BJP president Chandrakant Patil on Monday underplayed the unrest within the party over selection of candidates for graduate and teachers constituencies for the State Legislative Council polls, saying it was not possible to please everyone.
Sources said Pankaja Munde wanted to push her candidates in Aurangabad and Pune, which was not acceptable to the party leadership. Besides, the party’s decision to give importance to other leaders, namely Shambhaji Nilemgekar Patil from Latur, has not gone well with her.
Munde’s supporters took to social media to hit out at Patil for “sidelining” her, who wants greater say in matters related to the Marathwada region, after she skipped Patil’s three-day tour of the region.
Commenting, Patil said, “Munde is not upset. She sent an SMS yesterday (Sunday) night seeking permission to skip the tour. She is busy with her sugar factories’ issues, including bank loans, which needs to be addressed.”
However, Munde’s anger within the party is no secret. She blamed the leadership for her defeat in the 2019 Assembly polls from Parli in Beed district of Marathwada region at the hands of her estranged cousin Dhananjay Munde. She wanted the Opposition leader’s role in the State Legislative Council, which the party did not heed. Instead, the BJP shifted her to the Centre as a national secretary in J P Nadda’s team.
Among the names announced on Monday are former Nagpur Municipal Corporation Mayor Sandeep Joshi, who will be BJP’s candidate for the graduate constituency polls from Nagpur division. His candidature was pushed by former CM and Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis.
After the announcement, Joshi said, “I’m happy the party has reposed faith in me. I will work to make the organisation stronger. I thank both Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Fadnavis for giving me this opportunity.”
In Aurangabad graduate constituency, Shirish Boralkar is the candidate. A loyal party worker, he has worked with both late Gopinath Munde and Pramod Mahajan.
Pune graduate constituency saw the party pick Sangram Deshmukh. He is the Sangli district BJP president. Through Deshmukh, the BJP wants to play the Maratha card in Western Maharashtra to counter the Congress-NCP. For Amravati teachers constituency, the BJP has chosen the low-profile Nitin Dhande.
Former MLA Medha Kulkarni, who was vying for Pune graduate constituency, is upset. In the 2019 Assembly polls, she was denied ticket despite being a sitting MLA. The state BJP president had contested from Kothrud Assembly constituency then, replacing Kulkarni. She had been assured a seat in the State Legislative Council.
Recently, she had complained about how the party was not informing her about meetings in Pune.
Responding to the charge, Patil said, “There are limited seats and large number of candidates. We cannot accommodate all. The ones who make it feel justice has been done. The rest feel they have been subjected to injustice. We will reach out to those left out and hold talks.”
“Sangram Deshmukh is not my son-in-law. Nor Medha Kulkarni my enemy,” Patil said. “We have to choose candidates from among many. It’s on merit and not personal prejudice.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines