State BJP chief Chandrakant Patil does U-turn

Mumbai: Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil on Saturday took a U-turn on his statement that the mass induction of leader ‘Mega Bharti’ from other parties had diluted the culture of the saffron party and it was party’s major mistake ahead of the assembly election. “He felt good that in this party, no one needs to keep pushing to get a ticket. That is the culture of our party and, somewhere, that culture was diluted due to the ‘mega bharti’ (mass induction). We need to re-develop the earlier culture,” Patil had said on Friday at a function in Pune’s Pimri Chinchwad.

He added the people need to be told that the BJP still runs on “love, affection and merit”. Patil thereby had targeted former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for mass induction.

He however, on Saturday clarified that his statement was blown out of context.

Patil on Saturday said the BJP was a party of ‘karyakartas’ (activists) who work together. “The core committee took the decision on mass induction of leaders from various outfits and it was not of any individual. The loyalists and old timers were not denied tickets in the assembly and Lok Sabha elections. The party gave tickets to only 27 leaders who had joined the party during the mass induction,” he noted.

Some of the prominent leaders who had joined the BJP included former leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, former Congress minister Harshvardhan Patil, former NCP ministers Padmasinh Patil, Ganesh Naik and Ranajagjit Sinha Patil, former MP Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil and former Congress leader Sujay Vikhe Patil. Party’s move to include leaders from other outfits had caused a heartburn among the older cadre.

However, contrary to expectations, the BJP’s tally came down from 122 in 2014 to 105 in the 2019 Assembly election, and its long-time ally Shiv Sena walked out and joined the Congress-NCP combine to form a government under the leadership of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

Currently, Patil said, work was being given in the party to those who were near to the heart. A video recording of the function, aired on several media outlets, shows Patil saying that the system of giving tickets to those close to the heart must be stopped.

Meanwhile, NCP and Sena dared BJP to sack leaders inducted in the party ahead of Lok Sabha and assembly elections.