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On BJP’s mind now: Inroads into Maratha, Muslim areas in Maharashtra

The Marathas constitute 33 per cent of the state’s population and Muslims 10 to 12 per cent.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai |
August 17, 2017 3:06:27 am
CM Devendra Fadnavis with core committee members of the state BJP during a meeting at Vasant Smriti, the party office in Dadar, on Wednesday. (Express Photo: Prashant Nadkar)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to make inroads into the areas dominated by Maratha and Muslim communities to expand its electoral base in Maharashtra. On the first day of the two-day state BJP executive meeting that commenced Wednesday, the party deliberated that it should focus on the untapped segments and constituents.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call on ‘New India’ and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s ‘Modern Maharashtra’ mantra will be the central theme of our conclave,” a senior BJP functionary told The Indian Express.

The conclave that started in the backdrop of serious corruption charges against state BJP president Raosaheb Danve and Housing Minister Prakash Mehta is unlikely to see any action against the leaders.

According to political managers in the party, the central leadership of the BJP is seized of the matter. “The chief minister had ordered a probe. If the report shows they are guilty, action will be taken at an appropriate time,” said a leader.

Senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse, who was removed from state cabinet following allegations of impropriety, has been demanding to be absolved of the charges if there is no action against others facing similar cases. At its internal party meeting, a decision had been taken not to allow the conclave to become a forum for discussing individual cases.
The political managers said the meeting would not “deviate from the stated agenda of developmental politics emphasising on inclusive growth”.

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“At the end of the 58th and last Maratha rally, the state government extended Rs 800-crore sops in various educational schemes — similar to the ones enjoyed by the OBCs — to the community. The government has also provided sops in the education sector to various economically backward people within the minorities,” said a party leader.

The Marathas constitute 33 per cent of the state’s population and Muslims 10 to 12 per cent. The party, which is commemorating the centenary celebrations of RSS/BJP ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay, has also been speaking propagating the latter’s theory of ‘integral humanism’. The BJP believes efforts made towards this would appeal to the masses, especially the generation next.

The state and Central governments have introduced several public welfare schemes named after Upadhyay. The most popular among them are Deendayal Upadhyay Antodaya Yojana, Deendayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana, Deendayal Upadhyay Kaushalya Yojana and Deendayal Upadhyay Gram Sadak Yojana, among others.

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