Thursday, March 23, 2023
HomeIndiaOBC-Brahmin divide weighs on BJP, 15 Maharashtra MLAs ‘in talks with Sena-NCP-Congress’

OBC-Brahmin divide weighs on BJP, 15 Maharashtra MLAs ‘in talks with Sena-NCP-Congress’

Majority of the 15 MLAs are OBCs, who are said to be disenchanted with the leadership of former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, a Brahmin.

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Mumbai: The BJP, which markets itself as “the party with a difference”, seems to have now become a party with differences in Maharashtra.

At least 15 of the BJP’s 105 MLAs are in touch with the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVP), the ruling alliance comprising the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), sources in the party said. The MLAs, the sources added, are disgruntled but haven’t yet decided their future course of action.

The resentment is said to have come to the fore a week ago, when former state minister Pankaja Munde, daughter of the late union minister Gopinath Munde, set off speculation that she might leave the party.

Pankaja is a popular OBC leader but lost the October assembly election from Beed. 

Like Pankaja, majority of the 15 legislators belong to the OBC and feel “sidelined” by the party under former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, sources said. 

Fadnavis, the leader of the opposition in the assembly, is a Brahmin. 

The MLAs were silent until the BJP was the single-largest player in Maharashtra, but its failure to form government seems to have emboldened them to express their disgruntlement against the party’s state leadership. 

Sources said Fadnavis was made chief minister in 2014 to woo back Brahmins who had moved away from the BJP, and his leadership did bring in substantial gains for the party among the community. “However, the core base of the BJP in Maharashtra is the OBC and they are moving away. Besides, Fadnavis is responsible for the disgruntlement which has risen now,” said a former BJP minister.  

About 45 per cent of the voters in Maharashtra belong to the OBC.

Also Read: We analysed 1,000 BJP leaders & found the party remains a Brahmin-Baniya club

‘Going on for many years’

Though the state party leadership has denied resentment in the ranks, a few leaders have gone on record to voice their concerns. 

Former MLA Prakash Shendge, a Dhangar leader with a sizeable vote base, is vociferous in his criticism of the BJP vis-a-vis its treatment of OBCs. 

“The OBC leaders within the BJP are being sidelined by the Maharashtra leadership of the party. This has been going on for many years but was very evident in the 2019 assembly elections,” he said Thursday while talking to the media. 

“In 2014, I was denied a ticket for the assembly polls and no reason was given. I still do not know why I was dropped.” 

According to him, senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse, an OBC leader who is believed to have been cast aside by the party, has approached the Delhi leadership with a list of “those who are conspiring to downsize OBC leaders”. 

“The state leadership is trying to reduce our strength. We expect some action to be taken,” said Shendge. “If not, it will have a serious impact on the state BJP.” 

OBC leaders are denied a voice within the party and inside the assembly, former BJP MLA Raju Todsam said Thursday. “It is stifling. Those belonging to the OBC group could not ask questions or air our grievances without permission from Devendra Fadnavis. There was an air of fear,” he added. 

Of the 15 legislators in touch with the MVA, the majority favour the Shiv Sena, sources told ThePrint. 

These OBC leaders are likely to mount pressure on the BJP under the leadership of Khadse, who is fighting his own battles with Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis, the sources added.

‘All OBC leaders have been sidelined’

Apart from Khadse and Munde, other OBC leaders said to be feeling left out include Vinod Tawde and Chandrashekhar Bawankule — all commanding a sizeable vote base.   

“The BJP in Maharashtra was known as a party of the Shethji-Bhatji [Baniya-Brahmin]. It is leaders like Gopinath Munde, Anna Dange, Mahadev Shivankar, N.S. Pharande who brought the OBC community to the BJP,” said a BJP leader. 

“Once the BJP got the votes, these leaders were left in the lurch. Same is the case today. All the OBC leaders have been sidelined after being used to campaign for the party,” said a BJP leader.

In the five years that the BJP was in power, OBC legislators did not dare speak against the goings-on within the party, Todsam added. 

“There was so much fear. We kept quiet and became the marginalised group with the BJP,” he said. 

Shendge added that not much has changed for “OBCs despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi belonging to the community as well”. “Our voices are still not heard,” he said.

It is no secret that the BJP in Maharashtra is rattled in the face of dissent. However, speaking to ThePrint, BJP spokesman Madhav Bhandari dismissed the disgruntlement as “rumours” propagated by the Congress. 

“There is no substance in these rumours. This news is planted by the Congress to create confusion and grab the OBC votes that are with the BJP,” said Bhandari. 

“Since 1962, people have left the BJP but they have not defected. There will be no defections in Maharashtra from the BJP,” he added.

Bhandari conceded that there was resentment and anger. “But no one will defect from the BJP,” he added.

The NCP and the Congress have denied having any role in fuelling resentment.

NCP leader Jayant Patil said the BJP did not need “the help of any other party to break up”. Resentment within the BJP ranks will break it up, he added. 

Congress minister Balasaheb Thorat echoed Patil. “Their MLAs are in touch with us. We know that there is widespread disgruntlement within the BJP. Let us wait and see what happens,” said Thorat. 

Since his shock grab for power 23 November, Fadnavis has been facing flak. Although there has been talk of him falling out of favour with BJP chief Amit Shah, he was elected as the leader of the opposition.

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

Also Read: As Amit Shah’s plans A, B, C all backfire in Maharashtra, Indian politics gets a new template


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  1. As far as I know at least 20 SS MLAs want to crossover, waiting for many more to join…..very uncomfortable of doing business with Congress and likes of Nawab Malik

  2. Though there is a considerable factor of castism in Indian Politics, we should visualise in the interest of state first when it is all about state elections. Economy counts for every citizen of a state, not particular for any one caste. Moreover division on caste lines will surely integrity of state.

  3. Pappu tries to be janeudhari brahmin of Dattatreya gotra . But a non corrupt brahmin leader of Maharashtra is unacceptable.
    This reporter is biased and condemnable by all who don’t believe in caste politics.

  4. Dividing people on basis of caste and religion for some learned Journalist. Before writing a article they should how this is going to help the electorate make a informed decision.

  5. This is a useless analysis by writer.Brahmins constitute only 4% of maharashtra population and has no effective role to play in state politics.

  6. “The experiment of foisting CMs from non dominant communities has not been successful.” Why then foist pappu on everyone? Hope you are not implying the pappus are a dominant group in the country.

    • …… whether it is the merit, competency, integrity and honesty of an individual or the belongingness to a dominant caste that should determine who should become cm or pm? Indian democracy unfortunately is being viewed from caste and regional politics. Better a constitutional amendment may be done, through demand from dominant castes population, to bar pappus from the previliges of education, employment, politics etc since they constitute only 4% population and unwanted. Hatred at its peak.

      But one thing is certain–Nation still requires and depends on the wisdom of pappus; though however is getting degraded and getting extinct slowly like Tigers.


  8. It’s 2019 , guys, for heavens sake, arrey kab nikaloge dimaag se community ka keeda..Khud jaativaad ke keechad se aaj tak bahar nahi aaye woh pradesh ko kya chalayenge, aur kis mentality se …
    I think the upcoming people in politics or for that matter everywhere ,leave this nonsense castism.grow upp…finally some day

  9. Actually, with 169 MLAs on its side, the ruling troika has no need to induct more people. They will become claimants for positions of power and influence. The only gain would be to eliminate the possibility of Shat Pratishat succeeding. 2. The experiment of foisting CMs from non dominant communities has not been successful.

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