Many senior leaders are keeping a safe distance from ailing Chhagan Bhujbal supporters rally.
Leaders who were close to NCP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal are likely to skip the silent rally to be held by OBC activists in Nashik on Monday. The rally has been called to display the show of strength of OBC community who are feeling sidelined in the aftermath of the hugely successful morcha organised by the Maratha activists across the state. Those leaders who had remained loyal to Bhujbal during the reign of the Democratic Front government in the state have distanced themselves from him after his health had deteriorated. Thus Bhujbal who has been lodged in Arthur Road jail in the city since March this year after the ED arrested him in Maharashtra Sadan scam and other cases feels isolated as no senior leader has come forward to support him.
“There were many leaders who used to remain in contact with Bhujbal when he was the home minister of Maharashtra. But now nobody wants to meet him in this hour of crisis as they are all eyeing plum posts within the party. Such type of incidents occur when leaders face hardships in lives,” said a OBC activist on the condition of anonymity.
“We will hold a rally in Nashik to support our ailing leader Chhagan Bhujbal. Even though many senior leaders have deserted him we will continue to support him. This rally is not organised to demand reservation to our community as we just want to back our leader. We are also praying for his speedy recovery so that he can revive his political career,” said another activist.
Earlier Women and Children Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde’s had visited JJ hospital for meeting Bhujbal raising speculations in political circles about whether there would be a consolidation of Other Backward Caste outfits to counter the protests held by Maratha community. Even though Munde had met Bhujbal to inquire about his health political analysts had termed it as political visit.
Bhujbal had earlier approached the Bombay High Court seeking bail on medical grounds. The NCP leader mentioned that he had multiple problems, including diabetes, blood pressure, chronic asthma and blockages in heart. However, High Court rejected his bail petition after ED objected saying investigations were still on and he was getting proper treatment in government hospitals.
Bhujbal was arrested on March 14 by the ED on charge of money laundering in the Maharashtra Sadan scam. The Anti-Corruption Bureau had filed an FIR against Bhujbal after it found irregularities in construction of Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi which was built at a cost of Rs 100 crore. It is alleged that the contractor had given kickbacks to Bhujbal. He was admitted to J J Hospital from Arthur road jail, as he complained of high fever, diabetes and blood pressure.