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No 'outsiders' in BJP, says ex-Congressman

As rumours of Congress MLA Vinayak Nimhan jumping ship to BJP circulate, former Congressman Rao Inderjit Singh opposes the move

While current developments and goings on within the BJP suggest that Congress MLA Vinayak Nimhan could soon join the party, the transition may not be all easy. Minister of State for Planning and Programme Implementation Rao Inderjit Singh met party workers from the Shivaji Nagar assembly segment on three separate occasions to hear their objection to the possible move, terming Nimhan an ‘outsider’ to the party.

Shripad Dhekane, BJP’s western Maharashtra spokesperson said that when Nimhan started meeting the BJP’s state leaders, the party workers caught wind of the possibility of his jumping ship. However, the workers opposed the idea, even convincing planning minister Singh to fight against it. “The party workers met the minister at three different meetings that were arranged at various venues, including city MP Anil Shirole’s house. The workers opposed the possible entry of Nimhan in BJP, who - according to them - is an outsider,” Dhekane told mid-day.

According to Dhekane, the party’s state leadership considered giving tickets to ‘outsiders’ in assembly segments where the party lost the previous election by more than 10,000 votes. In the 2009 state assembly polls, Nimhan had beaten the party’s former city chief Vikas Mathkari by 20,000 votes in Shivaji Nagar. Nimhan, who had moved from Shiv Sena to Congress that year, is considered a strong contender in the Shivaji Nagar segment.

One would assume that Singh - a former Congressman who jumped ship to BJP last year - would be open to Nimhan’s move. Ironically, Singh was so convinced by the ‘outsider’ argument that he told his fellow party people that he didn’t want an outsider to contest on the party’s ticket either. Dhekane added that Singh promised party workers he would discuss the issue with the party’s state as well as national leadership.

“The ‘outsider’ issue is not the only problem. Nimhan has been involved in various land disputes. We all know that he plays the politics of repression, and as proof we handed over a CD to the minister that included information about his (Nimhan’s) various land dispute cases,” Dhekane said. 
 
Home-grown options
Dhekane mentioned that the minister advised party workers to find good alternate candidates from within the party. “Vikas Mathkari, Balasaheb Amrale, the party’s general secretary in Shivaji Nagar, former corporator Murlidhar Mohol and sitting corporators Nilima Khade and Medha Kulkarni are willing to contest the election from Shivaji Nagar assembly segment,” said Dhekane. When contacted, Nimhan refused to comment on the issue.

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