Firebrand OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal is hurt over the way he was humiliated by BJP and Shiv Sena brass as well as NCP president Ajit Pawar in the run-up to the LS and the RS polls.
Although Bhujbal has no plans to quit NCP, he feels he was more respected in undivided NCP led by his political mentor, Sharad Pawar. From once being a member of the core committee that decided the nominees for assembly and LS elections, he was ultimately denied a nomination after a long wait.
When the discussion for the Nashik LS seat began, although Shiv Sena’s Hemant Godse was Eknath Shinde’s first choice, the BJP leadership felt that Bhujbal had elective merit.At a meeting at the residence of Ajit Pawar, Bhujbal was told he would be NCP’s Nashik LS pick and that his name would be declared at any moment.
Bhujbal began massive preparations in the region. He waited and waited, and ultimately on the last day of filing of nominations, Shinde declared Godse’s candidature, which surprised all since he had not been in the zone of consideration. Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Rajabhau Waje defeated Godse.
Then, Bhujbal was given the hope that he would be nominated to the Rajya Sabha from the seat vacated by Praful Patel. Bhujbal knew it was a false promise, yet he held on to the hope of showing his presence in the national capital. At the last moment, Ajit Pawar’s wife, Sunetra Pawar, was nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Bhujbal lodged a silent protest, but it was a futile exercise.
BJP wary over EVM plea
Senior BJP functionaries are surprised by Sujay Vikhe Patil applying for verification of EVMs at 40 police stations. Defying expectations, Sujay, the son of revenue minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, lost the LS polls from Ahmednagar to NCP (SP)’s Nilesh Lanke by 28,929 votes.
Eight other candidates who lost the polls, including three from BJP, have sought EVM check and verification.
Sujay has demanded checking of EVMs of Karjat-Jamkhed assembly seat represented by NCP (SP)’s Rohit Pawar, Parner represented by Lanke, Shrigonda by BJP’s Babanrao Pachpute, Rahuri by NCP’s Prasad Tanpure, and Shevgaon by BJP’s Monika Rajale. Apparently, at a meeting convened by the local BJP unit, Sujay was told he received negligible votes in 40 booths and he then decided to approach the district election officer.
BJP functionaries feel that Sujay’s decision has given ammo to the opposition, which had already been insisting on restoration of the ballot paper system. A senior party functionary says it’s being doubted if he even consulted the BJP brass before taking the call.