Another BJP leader to quit over Vidharba issue

Last Updated : 24 January 2018, 13:24 IST
Last Updated : 24 January 2018, 13:24 IST

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After Nana Patole, yet another BJP leader from Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' home town Nagpur is "mulling options" after the saffron party's "total silence" on the demand for a separate Vidarbha.

Ashish Deshmukh, a BJP legislator from Katol near Nagpur, has set out on a 'Vidarbha Atmabal (self respect) Yatra' to press for the demand for a separate Vidarbha state, an issue that BJP used to canvass votes during the Lok Sabha and Maharashtra assembly elections in 2014.

"I have written to the Chief Minister reminding him of the promise for a separate Vidarbha the BJP had made in the run up to the elections. But, it appears that he had forgotten the promise," Deshmukh told reporters here.

He also flagged issues of agrarian distress, particularly farmers' suicides and the recent pink bollworm infection that has destroyed cotton crop in large parts of Vidarbha.

Deshmukh is the second leader from Vidarbha who is unhappy with the BJP over the promises made to the voters on a separate state and implementation of the Swaminathan Committee recommendations on the farm sector.

Earlier, BJP Lok Sabha member Nana Patole quit his seat and the party following a tiff with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Maharashtra government's approach in dealing with farmers' issues. Patole later joined the Congress.

Swabhimani Paksha MP Raju Shetti, who was part of the NDA, walked away from the ruling alliance over the alleged apathy of the Modi government towards farmers.

"People are disenchanted with the BJP. I had invited leaders from all parties to join my yatra on strengthening Vidarbha. But, no BJP leader has responded," Deshmukh, the son of former Maharashtra Congress chief Ranjit Deshmukh, said. Ashish joined the BJP in 2009 and contested defeated his uncle Anil Deshmukh, a NCP leader and a minister in the previous Congress-NCP government, from Katol assembly seat in 2014.

Deshmukh had embarked on the yatra on January 7 that will cover all the 62 assembly seats across 11 districts in Vidarbha.

"I will be guided by what the people of Vidarbha will tell me," he said when asked whether he was planning to quit the BJP.

Deshmukh will organise a rally of youth and farmers in Nagpur on February 13 where he is expected to announce his future plans.

Published 24 January 2018, 12:46 IST

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