BJP snaps up last Maratha emperor

Updated: Sep 14, 2019, 07:26 IST | Dharmendra Jore

Bhosale, a Nationalist Congress Party's Member of Parliament from Satara, announced the decision on Friday

BJP snaps up last Maratha emperor
Udayanraje Bhosale

After having snapped up some members of Maratha royal families from Kolhapur and Satara, the Bharatiya Janata Party would induct Udayanraje Bhosale, the 13th direct descendent of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, on Saturday in New Delhi.

Bhosale, a Nationalist Congress Party's Member of Parliament from Satara, announced the decision on Friday.

It would be homecoming for Udayanraje because the then BJP legislator had served as a junior minister in the Shiv Sena-BJP's first alliance government in 1998. He hasn't lost any election so far.

Udayanraje would join the CM's Mahajanadesh Yatra in Western Maharashtra a day after. The Maratha scion was appointed by NCP boss Sharad Pawar to jointly lead the party's outreach yatra with actor-turned-MP Amol Kolhe. However, after traveling a couple of days of August, Udayanraje did not resume the yatra which was a replication of the CM's pan-Maharashtra road travel that started its third leg on Friday.

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Apparently, the royal's induction has happened because of the BJP's intention of sweeping Western Maharashtra — once NCP's bastion — in 2019 Assembly polls. The BJP increased its MPs' tally in the region in 2019. It wishes to surpass 2014 Assembly gains in the October polls. Satara was the only district in the developed region which didn't have a single BJP legislator in the lower house.

Heir to the Maratha's Kolhapur royal seat, Sambhajiraje Bhosale was the first from the revered Maratha royal family to accept BJP's offer. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2016 and made head of the state-run agency that has been formed exclusively for restoring and developing historical forts in Maharashtra.

Sources said Sambhajiraje hasn't been very happy of late because of the turn of events. A low-profile prince helped the BJP government in getting a required traction during the Maratha reservation struggle. "He may not have said it publically, but he definitely expected something more from the BJP. Instead, his significance to the party is at stake with a flamboyant Udayanraje's entry," said a BJP leader from Kolhapur, adding that the prince felt he was increasingly ignored by the BJP leadership.

Also Read: Sanjay Raut: Don't join Shiv Sena-BJP just for a ministerial birth

Ex-cop joins Sena

Encounter specialist inspector Pradeep Sharma who sought voluntary retirement from the police service, joined the Shiv Sena today. He is expected to contest Assembly polls from Nallasopara.

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