Twelve days after declaring he was leaving the BJP to join the Congress, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade on Friday shared the stage with BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, at an event in Mumbai where the chief minister said Kakade, an associate member of the BJP, would remain with the party.
Kakade was earlier hopeful of getting the BJP ticket for the Pune Lok Sabha seat but he was reportedly ignored by party leaders. He had even started meeting prominent personalities from the city and visited local slums to discuss the issues faced by residents.
Kakade stays with BJP, for now
Pune’s political circles have been abuzz about Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade as he had been strongly pushing for his candidature, first from the BJP and later from the Congress. His announcement earlier this month, about joining the Congress irrespective of whether he got the party ticket, proved to be a non-starter as he has now decided to continue with the BJP.
Kakade had also never shared a cordial relationship with city BJP leaders despite playing a major role in bringing the party to power in the Pune Municipal Corporation. Kakade and state BJP chief Raosaheb Danve have also been at loggerheads, with Kakade publicly saying that Danve would be defeated in the Lok Sabha elections.
On March 10, Kakade had declared that he was joining the Congress and had started meeting state party leaders. He had even travelled to Delhi to lobby for the Congress ticket to contest from the Pune seat. “I have met senior Congress leaders and will soon be joining the party,” he had said. A meeting between Kakade and Fadnavis the very next day had raised some eyebrows, but the Rajya Sabha MP had said he was merely informing the CM about his decision to join the Congress.
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City Congress leaders, meanwhile, didn’t take too kindly to the news of Kakade joining the party. Even the Congress high command didn’t respond to his plea for the party ticket. Citing the meeting between Kakade and Fadnavis, local Congress leaders had claimed that he was not “trustworthy”.
At the event in Mumbai on Friday, Fadnavis said, “Kakade is in BJP and will continue to be with us. He was upset due to local issues and the Congress contacted him and offered him a party ticket. So, he visited Delhi but later he had a discussion with me and decided that local issues should be sorted out here itself.”
Fadnavis said Kakade has decided to stay with the BJP and the party has decided to give him the important responsibility of campaigning in western Maharashtra for party candidates.
Earlier, Kakade’s statement on the BJP’s defeat in the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Assembly elections had not gone well with the party leadership. Kakade had said the results were an “alarm bell” for the BJP and the party should drop “Mandir-Masjid” issues and focus only on development.