With both the Maharashtra Assembly and General Elections approaching closer and amidst the visit of Amit Shah and CM Fadnavis, Latur BJP gets splitted over the rumoured intimation of seat selling. Formerly known as a Congress stronghold, the constituency that got attracted towards BJP with the then Modi-wave, now marking the saffron party being divided into two groups — one who believes in the rumours and the other which evaluates that the rumours are being spread by the most inefficient and non-performing cadres to seek attention of the high commands. While it seems, even in the context of party’s declining vote share and fading popularity in recently released assembly poll results in five major states, neither of the party members are ready to settle in saving the larger perspective of their party.
On the condition of anonymity, a veteran BJP Osmanabad leader asserted, “Nothing is new about this news. BJP is in image-building mode right now; rather, they are known for selling and bargaining seats for their own benefits. National development and vision are for namesake and name one political party that’s clean!”
He later added, “Everyone does politics for the money, so do the BJP. Most of the candidates right now in BJP are taken from the corrupt Congress and the NCP; thus, practices are similar.”
Maharashtra will vote for Lok Sabha elections in three phases and the polling dates are April 10, 17, and 24. Prime Minister Modi will informally launch BJP’s election campaign in Maharashtra by addressing a rally in Solapur on January 9. While both the regional and national political parties are launching themselves into the election campaigning mode, the entire saga of rumours around BJP selling its seats in Latur took a viral turn after a few news media houses released their survey reports on possible BJP leaders (candidates) not getting tickets in the upcoming polls owing to their inefficiency and non-performing records. The list included: Jalgaon MP AT Nana Patil, Anil Shirole, Ahmednagar MP Dilip Gandhi, Nandurbar MP Heena Gavit, MP Kirit Somaiya, MP Poonam Mahajan, Raksha Khadse, Wardha MP Ramdas Tadas, Solapur MP Sharad Bansode, the Union Minister of State for Defence and Dhule MP Subhash Bhamre, and BJP Latur MP Sunil Kumar Gaikwad.
This smacked BJP when allegedly its own members in the disappointment of losing candidature started spreading rumours that the visit of Amit Shah in Latur is to enquire about the allegations of seats being sold to others. In such a crucial period of the election year, this would surely be a cause of worry for the party’s national leadership.
Amin Tamboli, Ek Tera Saath (NGO) President said, “Latur is such a belt which has been Congress’s fort for long, but no development has taken place so far. The people have been swayed by the Modi wave and selected BJP candidates. However, even they haven’t delivered anything so far as the biggest of the problems — the water crisis — still persists. There are instances of ticket-selling for the seats of MPs and MLAs. The parties look for powerful and affluent people and sell them the tickets. It’s not justified to blame the media as the media knows their job well.”
The accusations of rumour mongering mostly targeted MP Sunil Gaikwad. At the time when a large part of his own constituency people considers him inefficient and corrupt, Gaikwad spoke to AV and expressed, “I am least bothered about the rumours around; the rumours have not shattered me much and rather it came to me as a surprise! My only focus is on the election campaigning and was also on receiving Amit Shah in Latur. I believe in my dedication and hard work and I have full faith in my leadership.”
The anticipated BJP members who are in the queue for the Latur seat are Sudhakar Bhalerao, Dr. Anil Kamble, Sanjay Deorole, Dr. Sunil Gaikwad, and Sudhakar Singheria; among them, the first four names are considered the top contenders. Shah’s visit to Latur holds high significance and is worth noticing as the party President has met all the intellectuals and party workers to take feedback from Lok Sabha in-charges. BJP wants to leave no stone unturned for 2019 to repeat the mandate in their favour as in 2014. However, its own cadre using the same platform to defame the party looks unfortunate!
When our Editor spoke to Latur Zilla Parishad Vice President (BJP) Ramchandra Tiruke, he said, “Seat selling or seat bartering never happens in BJP and will never happen in future. The candidates are selected on their merits and if they fail to perform, the party gives the chance to other deserving candidates. If some insecure MPs are spreading rumour out of frustration, that’s not good for the party. At the same time, it shows how much loyal the cadre is.”
“BJP is not a party that was formed overnight by one member. This is a national party with collective efforts. Thousands of cadres are working day and night to save the party’s vision. Amit Shah’s visit to Latur is a routine meet ahead of the 2019 polls. He is meeting four LS constituencies and is here to educate the BJP workers towards connecting with the voters to make 2019 polls successful for the party. Unfortunately, this is translated wrongly,” he further added.
When asked on how to deal with these rumour mongers within the party, Tiruke replied, ‘Ignoring them is the only way’. He also said, “If the entire drill is to attract attention and if that is not given, they will understand such stunts won’t work. Moreover, one who is spreading rumours is the most vitiating person who has the least respect for the party and for his own position.”
On the other hand, Congress, which is in its comeback form, is going to launch actor and producer Riteish Deshmukh from his hometown in Latur constituency. Marking a huge transition from a Bollywood hero to a politician, Riteish, son of former Maharashtra Chief Minister late Vilasrao Deshmukh and younger brother of Congress Latur MLA Amit Deshmukh, is eyeing to win back the once stronghold seat for the party.
Journalist Satish Tadale stated, “If the parties start selling their seats, especially if it’s the ruling party, it is harmful to the democracy. The BJP was elected because the people wanted a change and an incorrupt government. Before commenting on the media, the Latur politician should also consider that he himself was a part of the media industry.”