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Politicos waiting to jump ship to BJP, but party being careful

Several ex-ministers and MLAs want to join BJP and contest the upcoming polls, but party chief Amit Shah has ordered a survey on the leaders’ hold over their regions, to see whom to admit to the party

There is long queue of ministers and legislators waiting to join the BJP bandwagon in view of it being a hot favourite for the upcoming state assembly elections. However, the party has deferred recruitment until the report of a survey ordered by party chief Amit Shah is submitted.

BJP chief Amit Shah has ordered the state unit of the party to not induct anybody until the report of the survey on potential assembly candidates is submitted
BJP chief Amit Shah has ordered the state unit of the party to not induct anybody until the report of the survey on potential assembly candidates is submitted

According to party insiders, the document will offer crucial findings on which leader is strong in which constituency and how much support he can garner. The study was commissioned by Shah in each of the 288 assembly constituencies in the state, to gauge the exact status of the BJP there and who has the potential to win.

Former NCP minister Suryakanta Patil will be among the first to join the BJP after the report is handed in
Former NCP minister Suryakanta Patil will be among the first to join the BJP after the report is handed in

Waiting at the door
There are at least four ministers who are eager to join the BJP and have even sent feelers. “They are among the waitlisted faces on the long list that also comprises ex ministers of Congress and NCP, and even sitting MLAs who want to contest elections on a BJP ticket,” said a senior office bearer of the party.

“At a time when the survey is on, we cannot promise the aspirants tickets for the elections. The issue of inducting leaders by screening their antecedents and the possibility of offering them tickets will be discussed at a senior level meeting in the first week of September, and only then will people from other parties be taken on,” said the leader.

However, some have managed to make the cut. Sources from BJP said that the report would be in by September 2, and from September 3, rebel NCP leader and former union minister Suryakanta Patil and former minister Dr Madhav Kinhalkar would join the party. Leader of Opposition in State Assembly Eknath Khadse said that after Patil and Dr Kinhalkar, ex NCP minister Babanrao Pachpute would also follow suit.

Kinhalkar, an archrival of former CM Ashok Chavan, may contest from Bhokar (Nanded district), the constituency represented by Chavan before he won the Lok Sabha seat. Meanwhile, within the BJP’s ranks, the survey has sent panic waves, as its results may determine if BJP’s own legislators are handed a ticket for the assembly polls.

Sena, BJP meet
After a month-long who blinks first, top BJP and Shiv Sena leaders met on Wednesday night. The meeting included state BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, state council members Eknath Khadse and Vinod Tawde etc.

According Tawde, the two parties decided to first complete seat-sharing discussions with the other members of the Mahayuti alliance, such as the Republican Party of India (Athawale), Swabhimani Sangahtana etc in the next two days. Sena and BJP will then thrash out issues on the matter between themselves in the next week.

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