Published On : Sat, Jan 2nd, 2016

BJP likely to retain Khopde as city unit chief


Nagpur: The cool atmosphere prevailing in Second Capital City of Nagpur notwithstanding, the atmosphere in local BJP circles is turning steamy as the new President of city unit is going to be elected by month end. Speculations are rife that the present incumbent is likely to be retained, unanimously. The reason being attributed for the fact is that the current city BJP chief has handled his job ‘satisfactorily.’ However, politics is different ball game and guessing a line could prove a hazard.

The present City BJP President Krishna Khopde is leading the party since past many years without any controversies. He has become MLA from East Nagpur twice while holding the city chief’s post. Khopde is simpleton and has remained the same distancing himself away from flashes of City BJP President and MLA as well. Originally a non-BJP entity, Khopde’s present high status in party is due to his closeness to Nitin Gadkari, a stalwart. The present city BJP chief is high-profile leader of Teli community. Under his stewardship, the BJP emerged victorious in NMC, Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in succession. The party even captured power in the State as well as at Centre. With high success in membership drives, Khopde put the BJP in high pedestal in the city.

This time when BJP stormed to power in the State after sterling victory in Assembly elections, Khopde was first to support Gadkari’s candidature to Chief Minister’s post and even publicly announced to vacate his MLA’s constituency for him. Moreover, when Devendra Fadnavis became Chief Minister, speculations were rife over Khopde’s inclusion in the ministry from the city. However, the Chief Minister included only one supporter of Gadkari from the district – Chandrashekhar Bawankule – in his Cabinet. Bawankule is from Nagpur rural and is a representative of Teli community. Subsequent rumours over ministry expansion turned the political air warmer for months but the expansion has so far not materialized. But hot discussions continue and the talking point is that whenever the ministry expansion takes place, a Kunbi representative (MLA) could be accommodated and not the Teli.

As is said, politics id different ball game. Guessing game is hazardous. The election to the City BJP President’s post is still four-week away and if there are no major hurdles, Khopde becoming city chief is a certainty. A formal announcement anytime would put a horde of speculations as well as other ‘nasty’ talks to rest.