Will it work for Vidarbha movement!
Nagpur: There was a lot of buzz in Nagpur around who was going to be nominated for Rajya Sabha from among Nagpur politicians. Specially after Congress had played its hand and substituted Darda with Chidambaram.
Though no one was ready to comment openly about it, that move was a slap on the face of Vidarbha, which has for decades been very loyal to Congress. From having two senior Lok Sabha M.P.s – Muttemwar and Wasnik and one Rajya Sabha M.P. Darda, now suddenly there is no one! The one R.S. seat at its disposal was given away to a politician from Tamilnadu.
Now it appears that BJP has replicated the Congress move. When speculation was rife about whether Gadkari would favour his ‘close friend’ Vijay Darda and send him back to R.S. a complete non-political person, an eye specialist Dr. Mahatme has been nominated by the BJP ignoring senior Nagpur stalwarts like Banwarilal Purohit, Tiwari and Datta Meghe.
Purohit and Meghe had quit the Congress to join BJP after having long tenures in the former party. With Purohit, it was BJP’s first big electoral win in Nagpur. Last year, Datta Meghe joining the B.J.P. with both his sons gave a huge moral boost to Modi’s party in fighting the Maharashtra elections where the Congress was completely routed out! Many doubt if this had been possible without Meghe’s defection. Unlike Purohit, who is Managing Editor of popular English daily Hitavada, Meghe is known to be close to Gadkari.
Dayashankar Tiwari is a BJP veteran who began his career at the same time like Gadkari. He is much more senior to Fadnavis, and is known to be an effective speaker and orator. But for some reason he has always been relegated to local bodies like NMC.
It is believed that there are two distinct BJP camps in Nagpur – Fadnavis and Gadkari. All other party politicians clearly belong to one camp or the other. Tiwari is an exception who keeps equidistance from both.
All eyes were on which camp would succeed in sending a senior to R.S. If Devendra would succeed and Purohit would go or would it be Meghe… or Darda.
If not a R.S. seat there were hopeful of getting Governorship of some state at least.
But all have been left cooling their heels back in Nagpur. Is this a deliberate slur on the aspirations of Vidarbha people?
Nagpur Today learnt from credible source that this time it was neither of the camps that got to make the decision.
It was the Supreme Power centre of India/ Nagpur that made the call. Yes – it was RSS decision to select a complete outsider but someone socially and professionally very well known to represent BJP in Parliament Upper House. Thus Dr. Mahatme. This move was backed by the C.M.
RSS/ BJP are killing many birds with this one stone. The nomination serves two objectives, political as well as social. Mahatme is a well-known doctor whose Free Opthalmology camps for the poor has earned him many laurels. Secondly, he belongs to the backward Dhangar (shepherd) community, which has been demanding reservation and fighting for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe category.
For the past few years, Mahatme has been taking up issues related to the Dhangar community, especially its demand for reservation. Immediately after Devendra Fadnavis took over as the CM, Mahatme had organised a Dhangar rally in Nagpur to press for the demand. Fadnavis, who was the chief guest at the rally, had reiterated his government’s commitment to keep the election promise, which, however, has remained unfulfilled so far.
RSS is known to be against the Reservation policy, many of their leaders have openly spoken up against it. Giving Dr. Vikas Mahatme the RS seat is a way of appeasing OBCs and Dalits who have begun perceiving Fadnavis as being too pro Brahmin as per RSS ideology and dictats.
Whatever may be the reason for selection of the good Doctor, senior Vidarbha leaders have been left out in the cold.
How this plays out for the Ruling party in the coming years and coming elections is anybody’s guess.
Ignored and slighted by both parties, will they get together and strengthen the Vidarbha movement ? Which as per local perception is a cause exploited and then abandoned by the duo of Gadkari – Fadnavis.
Will this loss for the stalwarts be a gain for Vidarbha?
By Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha (firstname.lastname@example.org)