The BJP will make Maharashtra “Congress-mukt” in the 2019 Assembly elections, newly appointed state party president Chandrakant Patil said on Wednesday.
Patil took charge in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the BJP headquarters in Mumbai. Fadnavis, addressing party workers, said, “In the last four and half years Patil as a Cabinet colleague has handled important portfolios such as revenue, agriculture and public works department. But his base has always been organisational work. Therefore, his appointment as BJP state president will help in strengthening the organisation. It will mark a new chapter as BJP always believes and works as a team.”
Shortly after taking charge, Patil, speaking to the media, said, “Congress-mukt Maharashtra is our main agenda. We will make all efforts including getting into the organisation meritorious Congress leaders.”
Explaining the Centre’s decision to entrust the organisational charge to him, Patil said, “I was amongst the best available candidates. Therefore, the central leadership may have decided on my candidature for the BJP president post.” He dismissed talks about the party’s decision to promote leadership from Western Maharashtra, arguing “in the past we had Raosaheb Danve who represented Marathwada region. We have Fadnavis who hails from Vidarbha region. The party chose me probably because I was among the best available candidates”.
To questions on who would lead the 2019 Assembly elections, Patil said, “The Chief Minister would lead the Assembly elections. And he would also play an important role assigned to him in organisational work.”
“The Shiv Sena and BJP will continue to have a pre-poll pact for the elections. Smaller allies will also be accommodated,” he said. The details related to seat-sharing and tie-up would be worked out by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Fadnavis and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, he asserted.
Asked if he was looking forward to a greater role like being CM in future, Patil said, “I have always believed in work assigned to me by the Centre. Moreover, it’s not necessary that every party president becomes a CM. I’m like an empty envelop. Whatever the central leaders assign, I sincerely follow.”
“As a full-time party worker for 13 years between 1982 and 92, I have travelled almost every taluka. Today, I have excellent rapport with grassroots workers who have risen politically to become elected members, ministers or office-bearers in their respective districts and talukas. Therefore, it would not be difficult to address their concerns or conflict if a situation arises,” Patil said.