BJP denies any changes in Maharashtra’s leadership, Sticks with Fadnavis

The BJP’s central leadership expressed confidence in Fadnavis’s administrative abilities, drawing from his experience as the former chief minister (2014–2019)

Union Minister and senior BJP leader, Piyush Goyal, has put to rest speculations about a leadership change in the Maharashtra unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This clarification comes in the wake of the party’s unimpressive performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections and rumors suggesting that Chandrashekhar Bawankule would be replaced by Rao Saheb Patil as the state president. Goyal firmly stated, “There will be no change in “Maharashtra’s leadership,” following a meeting with the Maharashtra BJP core committee.

Maharashtra's leadership
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The BJP leadership, including JP Nadda (National President) and Amit Shah (Union Home Minister), convened to analyze the reasons behind the party’s disappointing Lok Sabha election results. They also strategized to ensure the re-election of the MahaYuti alliance in the upcoming state elections. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis shared insights with reporters, emphasizing the need for course corrections and blueprint discussions for the Assembly polls.

During the meeting, Bhupender Yadav was appointed as Maharashtra’s in-charge, while Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw assumed the role of co-in-charge. Simultaneously, the central leadership urged Fadnavis to continue his responsibilities within the Maharashtra government and actively contribute to the party’s organizational goals for the impending state assembly elections. It’s worth noting that Fadnavis had previously offered to resign after the BJP’s lackluster Lok Sabha performance but decided to retain his position at the insistence of Amit Shah.

The BJP’s central leadership expressed confidence in Fadnavis’s administrative abilities, drawing from his experience as the former chief minister (2014–2019). They consider his role crucial for the government’s stability in the lead-up to the assembly elections. The party is now focused on building a robust team that can collectively shoulder responsibilities during this critical period. Specific organizational roles within this team will be finalized in the coming days.

Lok Sabha Election Results

In Maharashtra, the BJP secured only nine seats in the Lok Sabha polls, a significant decline from the 23 seats it won in the 2019 elections. In contrast, the Congress slightly increased its seat share, winning 13 seats. The Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and the Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) secured seven and one seats, respectively. Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena (led by Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) obtained nine seats, and the Sharad Pawar-led NCP won eight seats.

The party highlighted that its electoral gains did not fully materialize from its alliance with the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and the Ajit Pawar-led NCP. While the alliance vote share did not significantly transfer to BJP candidates, it did benefit both Shinde and Pawar.

Despite winning only nine out of 28 contested seats, the BJP’s performance in Maharashtra was its worst to date. The Shinde Sena secured a victory, and Ajit NCP claimed one seat, resulting in a total tally of 17 out of 48 seats for the BJP, while the MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi) won 30 seats.

Key BJP leaders, including Bhupender Yadav, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Piyush Goyal, Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Vinod Tawde, Pankaja Munde, and Ashish Shelar, attended the meeting alongside Fadnavis. Following the three-hour discussion, Fadnavis addressed the media, emphasizing the slim 0.3% difference between the Mahayuti and Maha Vikas Aghadi coalitions. The party deliberated on reasons for the election outcome and discussed strategies for the upcoming Assembly polls.

Regarding organizational changes, Union Minister Piyush Goyal stated that there would be no alterations. The central leadership’s stance is clear: Fadnavis remains essential for the Mahayuti government, which comprises the BJP, Shiv Sena (Shinde faction), and NCP (Ajit Pawar faction). The party believes that stability in the state government is crucial during an election year, even as details of organizational roles are yet to be finalized.

The BJP leaders also emphasized the need to mobilize their cadre and address fissures within the coalition partners. Other topics discussed included improving relations with the RSS, tackling agricultural crises, and managing caste polarizations between Marathas, OBCs, and Dalits/Muslims.

After the Lok Sabha election results, Fadnavis took responsibility for the party’s poor showing in Maharashtra. He expressed his intention to step down from the government and focus on organizational work. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, surprised by Fadnavis’s sudden resignation offer, engaged in multiple conversations with him, urging him to continue in the government. According to Chandrashekhar Bawankule, while Fadnavis displayed leadership by accepting responsibility, the consensus within the organization is that he is needed both in the government and the party.

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Dr. Shubhangi Jha

Avid reader, infrequent writer, evolving

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