Vinod Tawde was making rounds to Chandrakant Patil’s house. CM Devendra Fadnavis was not in a mood to invite him. Rather no one in BJP really bothered to entertain him. BJP released its fourth list of seven candidates for the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly polls, dropping cabinet minister Vinod Tawde. In a press conference, after being dropped by the BJP in the upcoming assembly election, Tawde said, “I’m also wondering why party didn’t give me a ticket to contest elections. This is not the time to discuss what went wrong.” He further added that, “I got a chance to prove myself and I did that.” He might pretend as if he does not know anything but reality bites and he knows he has not handled his portfolio well, that was the reason his ministry was given to Ashish Shelar.ince the first list of candidates was out,
Even senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse has become a source of embarrassment for the party due to his utterances. Khadse has been told that the party would give a ticket to his daughter Rohini Khadse, or any other candidate of his choice. With Khadse weighing his options, the BJP has kept everyone guessing. NCP leader Ajit Pawar met Khadse and asked him to join the NCP and fight on an NCP ticket from Muktainagar; Khadse has sought time to consider the offer. The decision to field Rohini Khadse indicates that the party has succeeded in placating her father, who is one of its senior most leaders in the state but has been sidelined following charges of irregularities when he was a minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government. Eknath Khadse had to resign as the state revenue minister in 2016.
In Mumbai Colaba, MLA Raj Purohit has been kept waiting as the BJP wants a fresh face from the constituency. The other issue with Colaba constituency is that the BJP is trying to woo senior NCP leader Ramraje Nimbalkar who has apparently put out a condition that he would join only on the condition that BJP gives the Colaba seat to his son-in-law Rahul Narvekar. The party has also denied a ticket to former minister Prakash Mehta who was once close to home minister Amit Shah. Mehta, however, used all his clout in trying to get a ticket for himself or one of his sons but all failed. Mehta had been under a cloud due to a number of irregularities when he was the housing minister. The final seat-sharing formula between BJP and Shiv Sena has also been finalised. BJP will be contesting on 150 seats while Shiv Sena will contest on 124 seats and other allies will get 14 seats. Sunil Rane has replaced Vinod Tawde. Rahul Narvekar has replaced Raj Purohit from the Colaba seat. Parag Shah has replaced Prakash Mehta. Pradeep Padole has been nominated from the Tumsar seat and Rahul Dhikale will contest from the Nashik East seat. The BJP’s fourth list of candidates came on the last day of nomination filing for the October 21 Maharashtra assembly elections.
The BJP had released three lists earlier. Ahead of the release of the BJP’s final list of candidates, speculation was rife that Eknath Khadse, Vinod Tawde and few other senior leaders of the party might not be fielded in 2019 Maharashtra Assembly election. On the final day of filing of nominations, several big shots, including sitting and former ministers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), got a big shock after they failed to get a ticket for contesting the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections.
Despite Tawde doing the rounds of the party office hopefully, his seat of Borivali has been given to Sunil Rane while Rahul Narvekar has ejected Purohit — a former minister, from Colaba constituency. Prakash Mehta’s Ghatkopar East constituency has gone to party corporator and developer Parag Shah. Shah, who contested 2017 civic polls had grabbed headlines for being one of the richest candidates in the state. He had then declared assets worth over Rs 650 crore.
Tawade, Purohit, Khadse, Mehta were named in one or the other scams/irregularities. So, is it a signal from the BJP’s high command that they are being under scrutiny and their work has been reviewed. According to reports, the reason behind dropping Tawde is not clear but there has been speculation of his initial rivalry with Fadnavis. Prakash Mehta had been dropped from the cabinet this year following serious allegations of graft against him in a slum rehabilitation project. Meanwhile, the BJP was looking for a fresh face after Purohit landed in soup over sting in 2015. In the sting operation Purohit was heard commenting about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah’s style of functioning.
One of the lasting images ahead of the 2014 state polls was that Devendra Fadnavis and Vinod Tawde carried over 14,000 pages of irrigation scam papers in a bullock cart to hand it over to the Madhav Chitale probe panel. Five years down the line, no action has been taken against then accused former water resources ministers Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare in the multi-crore irrigation scam. Ahead of the state polls in October, the political temperature in the state has similarly been notched up with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filing a money laundering case against Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank scam. The irony is that the MSCB scam, dates back to the Congress-NCP government in 2011 and the inter-rivalry between these parties, much like the irrigation scam. The first such money laundering case against Pawar, who controlled the Maharashtra’s sugar lobby for over two decades, just ahead of the polls, has, however, put a question mark on the motive of the probe. This is also because Pawar was not on the board of the MSC Bank as a director during the entire period that the scam refers to (from 2002 to 2017) and as such cannot be held directly responsible for any of its decisions.
But look at the tragedy, same Vinod Tawde is sidelined due to corruption and if not this time next time it’s the turn of Devendra Fadnavis, BJP leaders really need to understand that Modi is not tolerant to corruptions and scams. Everyone has to pay the price.
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