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BJP Is ‘BGP’ in Maharashtra – Bharatiya Goons Party

BJP is joining hands with criminals as it desperately tries to continue with its winning streak in city polls.

Updated
Politics
5 min read
BJP Is ‘BGP’ in Maharashtra – Bharatiya Goons Party

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When the BJP’s message changed from ‘Party with a Difference’ to ‘Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas’, little did anyone know that the ‘sab’ would actually include criminals and gangsters!

Ahead of the crucial municipal polls in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and six other municipal corporations in Maharashtra, the BJP has opened its doors to everyone. Eyebrows were raised when the BJP rolled out a red carpet for Pune-based gangster Vitthal Shelar. He joined the party in the presence of Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat, who had earlier promised to stay away from criminal elements. Shelar, who has a string of cases against him, including murder, abduction and robbery, has been given a post in the party, that used to boast its ‘clean’ image once!

Shelar is booked under stringent MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) and is out on bail. Before him, Dinesh Dhavde, Pappu Gholap and Shyam Shinde were inducted into the BJP ranks. All have serious charges against them.

Pune is surrounded by over a dozen gangs and The Quint was the first portal to report about them at the national level. Baba Bodke is one of the dreaded names in Pune, who is also charged under MCOCA and is an accused in four murder cases and more than a dozen serious crimes. CM and Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis was left red-faced when his picture with Bodke went viral. Fadnavis played down the incident and denied knowing Bodke personally.

Vitthal Shelar with BJP Minister Girish Bapat and Baba Bodke with CM Devendra Fadnavis. Fadnavis later claimed that he didn’t know Bodke personally. (Images altered by The Quint).
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Same Story in Mumbai Region

Omie Kalani waving his naked sword in public while arriving at the venue, where alliance with the BJP was announced. (Courtesy: Screengrab from YouTube)

At Ulhasnagar, a crowded city in the outskirts of Mumbai, the BJP was in talks with Pappu Kalani, a gangster and a murder convict. Kalani’s family dominates the politics of this city, which is also known as mini-Sindh. Kalani’s wife Jyoti is an NCP MLA and his son Omie is involved in city politics. Both have several cases against them.

BJP’s hoardings at Ulhasnagar near Mumbai places PM Narendra Modi with murder convict Pappu Kalani, now an ally of BJP. (Photo: The Quint)

A day after the BJP’s seat-sharing talks with the Shiv Sena broke out, Omie Kalani announced that he will join the BJP. This came as a shock to several veterans in the BJP, who had fought against the Kalani family in the early 90s. After Sharad Pawar brought Pappu Kalani into the Congress party, BJP’s state leadership had made it a major campaign issue ahead of 1995 Maharashtra Assembly polls. Pawar, accused of criminalizing politics, had lost power to Shiv Sena-BJP combine in that election.

With growing pressure from all the sides, the state BJP decided to ally with the Kalani clan rather than giving them an entry into the party. Although Omie Kalani’s nomination form got cancelled as he has three children, his picture - along with his murder convict father’s - is printed with PM Narendra Modi on BJP’s hoardings.

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See-saw in Thane

Mayur Shinde joins BJP in presence of BJP MLA Ravindra Chavan. (Picture courtesy: twitter.com/@todaymaharasht1)

These goons come with muscle as well as money power, so they are seen as ‘winnable’. They can help raise the tally in these polls, but will destroy the image of the party in the long run, feels a section of the BJP. So in Thane near Mumbai, Sudhakar Chavan – who was recently arrested in connection with the suicide of businessman Suraj Parmar – was denied entry into the party. Chavan, also an accused in a TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act) case, was close to joining the BJP, when hundreds of BJP workers in Thane had to send SMSes to CM Fadnavis, who eventually gave in to the pressure from party workers.

But the pressure didn’t work when another history-sheeter, Mayur Shinde joined the party in presence of MLA Ravindra Chavan. Shinde is infamous as an extortionist in north-east Mumbai and Thane. He has 9 cases against him including extortion, kidnapping and threatening. His name had also figured in the diary of builder Suraj Parmar, whose controversial suicide is a hot issue in Thane.

BJP Plays it Safe in Nashik & Nagpur

Pawan Pawar joins the BJP; Pawar addressing the gathering in Nashik. Santosh Ambekar seen in the victory rally of a BJP MLC in Nagpur. (Images altered by The Quint)

In Nashik, Independent Corporator Pawan Pawar joined the BJP. He has been booked under MCOCA and is the main accused in a murder case. He has two extortion cases against him and is accused of helping in a sensational double murder case. Following severe criticism, he was denied a party ticket and now he’s contesting the municipal election as an Independent candidate.

Nagpur, often referred to as the ‘Crime Capital’ of Maharashtra, has been witnessing many daylight murders. Although CM and Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis hails from Nagpur, the city continues to make headlines for criminal activities. Last week, a 38-year-old businessman was beheaded with an axe in a crowded market at 1 in the afternoon!

But even in Nagpur, which also happens to be the head office of RSS, BJP leaders are regularly seen hobnobbing with gangster-turned-real estate dealer Santosh Ambekar, a dreaded criminal, who has been charged under MCOCA four times!

BJP leaders have been clicked with him in public rallies and the fact that Ambekar is close to some BJP leaders is an open secret in Nagpur. He is now trying to enter full-time politics. He got his wife Neha Ambekar inducted into the BJP and was trying to get a ticket for her. He withdrew it at the last moment "on the advice of a party leader", report local newspapers.

‘Free In-Coming in BJP’

The Shiv Sena has been attacking the BJP on this issue; its mouthpiece Saamana wrote a scathing editorial, which read: ‘Winning elections with the help of criminals is worse than black money.’ The NCP, which was earlier accused of giving shelter to criminal elements, has now taunted that there’s “free in-coming” in the BJP.

Even the RSS is critical of the BJP. A ‘special editorial’ published in Tarun Bharat, the mouthpiece of RSS is titled ‘BJP’s self-destructive step’ was written this week after BJP welcomed an NCP leader, who is booked for rape. It goes:

‘When the society expects BJP to give a clean administration and a new thought, what will it achieve by giving tickets to those who’ve been rejected by the society and those who have an ideology that it anti-social?’

Repeated attempts to reach state BJP president Raosaheb Danve failed. But MP Sanjay Kakade, a BJP MP who has played a crucial role in getting some of these goons into the party has said, “It’s unfair to call them ‘goons’ as they have not been convicted.”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from news and politics

Topics:  Crimes   Pune   Nagpur 

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