With Bhosale’s entry, BJP bolsters Maha poll line-up

With Bhosale’s entry, BJP bolsters Maha poll line-up

Home Minister Amit Shah gives party membership slip to senior NCP leader Udayanraje Bhosale, after the latter joined BJP. PTI file photo

When NCP MP Udayanraje Bhosale joined the BJP on Saturday in the presence of its chief Amit Shah, it was reflective of a pattern that the saffron party has followed over the last few years whenever it has targeted any state in a big way.

In Maharashtra, where the BJP and Shiv Sena have a government in an alliance, Bhosale’s joining will give further teeth to the nationalist campaign of the saffron family, which is already riding high on national sentiments post-Balakot airstrike in Pakistan in February and the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir last month.

The Satara MP Bhosale is a descendant of the iconic Maratha king Shivaji and welcoming his entry into BJP.

Shah said it was a matter of happiness for his party that a descendant of the Maratha king has joined it. Earlier Bhosale’s cousin Shivendrasinh, an MLA from Satara Assembly, had joined the BJP on July 31.

As Bhosale joined the saffron party, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis flagged that the former had lauded the Modi government’s move to nullify Article 370, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Strengthening the legacy of Shivaji within the party also helps BJP keep the recalcitrant ally Shiv Sena on a leash. Besides, it helps weaken the hold of NCP chaired by the tallest Maratha leader Sharad Pawar, who is in alliance with Congress.  

Continuing trend

 BJP has already netted more than half a dozen key leaders from Congress and NCP in Maharashtra and some others are in the pipeline. Of them, the most prominent was Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, whose family had dominated politics of Ahmednagar region for three generations. While he is a senior minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government, his son Sujay Vikhe-Patil is now a BJP MP, having quit the Congress before Lok Sabha polls.

In April the Congress’ television face Priyanka Chaturvedi took an ideological leap and joined the Shiv Sena and has now been appointed as its ‘upneta’ (deputy leader).

Before Bhosale, the other leaders who quit NCP and Congress and joined the BJP or Shiv Sena are lone NCP MLA in Marathwada Jaydutt Kshirsagar, Ganesh Nayak, former NCP President Madhukar Pichad, Rana Jaagatsinh Patil, Dhananjay Mahadik, Sachin Ahir, Dilip Sopal and Abdul Sattar.

Before he formally joined the BJP, Bhosale met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Saturday morning to submit his resignation as Lok Sabha MP from NCP. On Friday, former Maharashtra unit NCP president Bhaskar Jadhav joined the Shiv Sena.