Pune: Whispers become louder when city MP Anil Shirole met BJP-affiliated Rajya Sabha Member Sanjay Kakade recently at Shirole’s office. Although the leaders made it clear that the meeting was to review the party’s performance in the backdrop of 2019 general elections, the move was seen as an attempt to alienate Guardian Minister Girish Bapat within the party.
Bapat recently, speaking at a function in Pune, said, “There is no possibility of the BJP government coming to power again in the state. So people should rush for getting their work done from the present government.” Bapat’s comment sparked a controversy within BJP circles while opposition parties found this as a golden opportunity to criticise the ruling party.
According to experts, this situation provided an opportunity for the rival camp in the party to come together and form a political front. It is known in political circles that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was upset over Bapat’s statement. Apparently, though Bapat made the comment in a lighter tone, it generated a huge political storm.
Kakade has openly expressed disagreement with Bapat’s statement. During the civic polls Kakade had predicted a huge victory for the party in Pune Municipal Corporation elections and the predictions turned out correct. Likewise during the Gujarat Assembly elections Kakade had predicted a defeat for the party, however BJP emerged victorious with 99 seats. On the result day, Kakade’s opponents put up hoardings in the city ridiculing his prediction.
Kakade said, “The situation of BJP in the city and state is good and we are confident that the party will be in power again in the state. I have no idea on which basis Bapat made this statement and I am sure that CM Fadanvis will take cognisance of it.”
It is interesting to note that in the last parliamentary election Bapat was willing to contest the election on a BJP ticket, but the party gave the ticket to Shirole. Rivalry between Bapat and Kakade faction is no longer a secret in Pune’s political circles. Therefore this meeting between the two in the backdrop of Bapat’s statement raised many eyebrows.