ACB complaint against MoS exposes split in Gadkari camp

BJP leaders say that many in Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s faction are upset at Ranjit Patil being elevated to the MoS post for several key depts; they have attributed the disproportionate assets complaint filed against him to such disgruntled elements

A power tussle seems to have gripped the Bharatiya Janata Party’s influential faction led by Union minister Nitin Gadkari. BJP sources have attributed a corruption complaint made against Dr Ranjit Patil to his party competitors, who are upset over his elevation as minister of state for many key departments.

Also read: ACB probes complaint against MoS for Home

mid-day’s report on March 26
mid-day’s report on March 26

Patil faced a huge embarrassment earlier this week when Anti-Corruption Bureau chief, DGP Praveen Dixit, forwarded a complaint against the minister to the Amravati-Akola unit for verification (‘ACB probes complaint against MoS for Home’, mid-day, March 26).

The complaint accuses Patil of amassing assets disproportionate to his known income. Patil is a reputed orthopaedic surgeon in Akola, western Maharashtra, and represents the graduates constituency in the Legislative Council.

Politics at play
Many eyebrows were raised when a low-profile Patil, a close confidant of Gadkari, was drafted into the Devendra Fadnavis cabinet in December.

He was made MoS of important departments such as home (urban), general administration, urban development, law and judiciary. All these departments are headed by the CM, and Patil, by virtue of being the state boss’ junior, has been tasked with a majority of the work in the CMO.

At times, he is called on the lines of union minister of state for PMO a minister of CMO. Gadkari had played a major role in getting the first-time MLC the crucial job. Patil has already blamed the embarrassment on his political rivals in the BJP.

“This has been going on for long. You may please verify the situation at the local level (in Akola) yourself,” he told mid-day on Wednesday. A BJP leader said that many senior leaders and elected representatives, who also belong to the Gadkari camp, are angry because of the surgeon’s promotion.

“The leaders, who are directly elected from the people (to the Assembly) were ignored for ministerial jobs. A senior MP, who is Gadkari’s right hand in western Vidarbha, is leading the charge against Patil,” he said, requesting anonymity.

According to another BJP leader from Akola, at least three MLAs are interested in replacing Patil if he is asked to quit in view of the allegations.

Split wide open
Factionalism is rampant in the BJP. Other than Gadkari’s current flock of loyalists, the late Gopinath Munde had his staunch followers, most of whom have now shifted their loyalty to Munde’s daughter Pankaja and CM Devendra Fadnavis. But, with the party coming to power after 15 years, factionalism within the factions has been causing headache to the respective group leaders.

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