Nagpur Winter Session: Congress and NCP eye their own who want to return

Updated: Dec 21, 2017, 10:43 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

In politics, the one who determines which way the wind blows and acts accordingly has chances of benefiting

In politics, the one who determines which way the wind blows and acts accordingly has chances of benefiting. The current state politics is no different, as several MLAs and MPs who had ditched either the Congress or NCP ahead of the 2014 polls are now building bridges with them. The mood is palpable here at the winter session of the state legislature. Most BJP first-timers, the original party workers, are sceptical about their future in the wake of the Gujarat Assembly results. But the imports from other parties, who won from their respective constituencies, have an easier and safer option of switching sides yet again, before the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

(Left) Ashish Deshmukh with Ajit Pawar at the Nagpur winter session
(Left) Ashish Deshmukh with Ajit Pawar at the Nagpur winter session

Reason to rebel
Many may find a reason or two to rebel, and some of them have already raised a banner of revolt against the BJP. Sensing the discontent, Congress and NCP have been reconnecting with BJP representatives who are likely to return. Former Congressman Nana Patole quit the BJP and his Lok Sabha seat a few days before Gujarat went to polls, while Katol MLA Ashish Deshmukh is on his way out over issues like a failed promise of creating a separate Vidarbha state. Deshmukh has written letters to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to fulfil the long-pending demand, and scrap the tradition of holding the winter session in Nagpur, because the exercise does not yield anything for the region at the cost of enormous amount of public money.

NCP's Ajit Pawar and Congress' Prithviraj Chavan were very active in public display of affection with Deshmukh on Wednesday. Pawar walked with him to the Vidhan Bhavan, while Chavan was more than cordial when he met him. Deshmukh was in the news for yet another reason on Wednesday. He had skipped a special workshop for BJP legislators held by the RSS. Chavan did not say what transpired between them, but Pawar opened up. "Ashish has sought my time to discuss. I know he is not happy in BJP, but the state elections are not far away. Nana (Patole) has already quit. I don't know what Ashish will talk about," he said. Sources in Congress said Ashish was offered a comeback.

BJP counters
Senior leaders in BJP said export-import was a routine practice in politics, and they expected some people to change sides. "We will not face any dearth of formidable candidates. We have a host of elected representatives and emerging leaders who will get to contest on BJP tickets," said a minister. He said BJP wasn't the only party that imported candidates. "Even Shiv Sena did it. Congress and NCP too are no exceptions. When it comes too suffering, all will get affected. Only the degree of suffering will vary," he said. Fadnavis had said some days ago that Patole would realise his mistakes very soon. He hasn't reacted to Deshmukh yet, because insiders feel he does not deem him important. People close to CM said the 'potential defectors' were under watch and all efforts would be made to retain them, if they retain electoral merit.

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