In a jolt to the BJP, family members of late Lok Sabha member Chintaman Vanga from Palghar walked over to the Shiv Sena, accusing the former of meting out “injustice”, barely weeks before the May 28 by-elections here.
Jaishree, the widow of Vanga, the BJP MP who died on January 30 in New Delhi after a heart attack, along with her children Srinivas and Prafulla called on Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray late on Thursday and announced their decision to quit the BJP.
“Since the past over 35 years, Chintaman Vanga built up the party in this region but the BJP leaders have done injustice to us and totally ignored us. We sought time from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP state President Raosaheb Patil-Danve but we got no response,” said Jaishree Vanga.
Accordingly, the family said it had decided to quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and join the Shiv Sena “without any political pressures”.
Welcoming them, Thackeray said the Vanga family had thrown its lot with the Shiv Sena to further the cause of ‘Hindutva’ ideology and to avoid a split in Hindutva votes.
“We hold the Vanga family in high regards. They have not demanded party ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha bypolls. We shall discuss the matters jointly with the Shiv Sena workers in Palghar and take a final decision on the candidate,” Thackeray said.
He said if it was a matter of getting an election ticket, they could have gone to any party, but they preferred the Shiv Sena on ideological grounds.
Jaishree Vanga said since the past many decades, they have enjoyed cordial relations with both the Shiv Sena founder-patriarch, the late Bal Thackeray, and his son Uddhav Thackeray.
“Our father worked hard for the party even when it had two MPs, but now after his death, we have been left in the lurch,” one of the sons pointed out.
Adding that there would be no alliance with the BJP in any future election, Thackeray said after a meeting with his party leaders, he would take the final call on announcing candidates for the Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha bypolls scheduled this month-end.
In the first official reaction to the developments, Revenue Minister (BJP) Chandrakant Patil termed the Vanga family’s move as “premature” and said the party was considering giving one of them the ticket from the Palghar seat.
Rejecting the family’s contentions, Patil said the late Vanga had represented the seat both in the Maharashtra Assembly and Parliament since over three decades, and a decision on the next election was due to be taken shortly by the party leadership.
Meanwhile, the ruling BJP is understood to have initiated damage control measures on the developments as Palghar, around 100 km north of Mumbai, is considered a crucial constituency with a large number of tribals and backward classes voters. (IANS)