The BJP on Thursday announced it would hold a mega rally in Kolhapur on March 24 with its alliance partners, as a show of strength and also said it would accommodate the concerns of each and every ally.
“The BJP has always valued the political partnership with all alliance partners. The BJP has and will always accommodate the concerns of each and every alliance partner both in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. The NDA is strong and united,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Click here for more election stories
The rally will be attended by leaders of alliance parties such as Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, RPI(A) president and Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale, Rashtriya Samaj Party (RSP) chief and state Cabinet minister Mahadeo Jankar and Ryat Shetkari Sanghatana chief Sadabhau Khot.
BJP sources said the party would also address unrest among its smaller allies by promising them sops in the Assembly elections scheduled for October 2019.
RSP’s Jankar, the minister in charge of animal husbandry and dairy development, is keen on contesting the Baramati Lok Sabha seat on his party’s symbol, said a BJP source. However, the BJP has told him that if he wants the Baramati seat, he should contest on its symbol, added the leader.
“In 2014, we fielded Jankar from Baramati. We conceded to his demand to let him contest on his party’s symbol. But he lost by 70,000 votes. Had he listened to us and taken BJP’s ticket, he would have fared better. In 2019… when each and every seat is important, the central and state leaderships are not willing to risk their prospects by allowing smaller allies a political adventure,” said the BJP leader on condition of anonymity.
However, Jankar had earlier reiterated he wanted to contest on the RSP’s symbol. He said taking the BJP’s symbol would lead to the RSP losing its identity as a separate party, and that it would upset his support base. Maharashtra has the second highest number of Lok Sabha seats at 48, after Uttar Pradesh’s 80 seats. The seat-sharing formula in Maharashtra saw BJP contesting 25 seats and Shiv Sena 23 seats.
The BJP’s poll managers argued that its alliance partners had no reason to complain. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a BJP poll manager said, “In 2014, even before the Lok Sabha elections, the party made Athawale a Rajya Sabha MP. The seat was given to RPI(A) from BJP quota. The party accommodate Athawale by denying the seat to its own senior leader Prakash Javadekar.”
Another example was Fadnavis’s decision to make Jankar a Cabinet minister after he lost his Lok Sabha seat from Baramati, and though his party did not win a single seat in the 2014 Assembly elections, said the source.
Modi to address rally in Wardha on March 28
Nagpur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address his first election rally in the state at Wardha on March 28, said Sudhir Dive, the convener of BJP’s Wardha campaign. The PM had also started his 2014 Lok Sabha campaign from Wardha. He is likely to go to Akola and Nandurbar from there, Dive added. (ENS)