Party workers see red over BJP's dynasty politics
Workers stormed party office, alleging that netas from saffron group, ideologically opposed to dynastic politics, asked for tickets for personal assistants, spouses etc
It appears that the party that condemns dynastic politics from the rooftops has customised the much-reviled brand to suit its purposes. With BMC elections exactly a month away, certain BJP members have been learnt to have resorted to asking for tickets for candidates who are either known to them, related to them or have worked for them.
According to party insiders, nearly a dozen leaders want their relatives or aides to get tickets. On Thursday, livid party workers from Andheri stormed the party headquarters in Dadar, shouting that in the BJP one gets a ticket only if they are someone's personal assistant (PA).
They were referring to senior BJP leader Kirit Somaiya. They alleged that the party exchanged seat number 71 in Andheri with ward number 110 so that Somaiya's ex-aide Deepak Dalvi can be accommodated there. Somaiya refused to comment on the issue. He said, "I don't have a PA for the last seven years. Talk to the party spokesperson."
BJP state president Sudhir Mungantiwar's PA, Amol Jadhav, is also an aspirant for a corporation seat, but Mungantiwar maintains that he has not given him a ticket. Former PA of Gopinath Munde, Amit Satam, is also in the queue for a ticket to ward number 62.
If it's not the aides, it's the relatives who have been the beneficiaries of such endowments. A source said, "A senior leader wants a ticket for his daughter-in-law, for ward number 219 in Mumbadevi."
Didn't do it: BJP state president Sudhir Mungantiwar said he did not help his PA, a candidate in the civic polls, get a ticket. File pic
Similarly, Parag Alvani wants a ticket for his wife to ward number 80 in Vile Parle. Arvind Bane from ward number 212 in Tardeo also wants a seat for his wife. "Yes, I have recommended the name of my wife Jyoti for the seat. Let the party high command decide whether she's deserving or not," said Bane, adding that he has worked for the ward for the last one-and-a-half decades and the seat should go to his wife.
Candidates from wards 141 and 144 of Chembur are a husband and wife duo Vitthal and Rukmini Kharatmal. "They were given the seats in the hope that they would let go of the demand to contest ward 134 and support the Sena candidate there," said a party insider. Ward 134 was a bone of contention between the Sena and the BJP as Sena's standing committee chairperson Rahul Shewale claimed the seat though it originally belonged to the BJP.
Many other leaders may lose their seats and might contest as independents because of the allotment to relatives and aides. A party insider said, "There are talks that senior leaders who have formerly headed committees in the BMC might contest as party rebels."
Incidentally, senior party leaders find the trend disturbing. BJP President Nitin Gadkari, Munde, Mungantiwar, Purohit, Venkaiah Naidu, and Vinod Tawde held a meeting late on Saturday night to discuss the issue.
Mungantiwar said, "We aren't encouraging dynastic politics in our party. A relative of a party member would be given a seat only if there's no objection and there is no active party member in that ward. No PAs would be given a ticket; we won't encourage PA politics."
Inputs by Rinkita Gurav