Mumbai: Although he is the chief of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state on paper, Maharashtra BJP president Raosaheb Danve (61) has clearly no idea what's happening within the party. The two-time MLA and four-time MP now faces an awkward situation as he has been apparently sidelined by his juniors and the top brass of the party.
Danve was unaware of the atal bandhan programme the Mumbai city unit had launched, indicating that the state unit chief was not kept in the loop.
However, the state BJP head maintains a brave face.
"I have not been sidelined by the party. This (atal bandhan) is just a small incident. With the civic elections round the corner, I have given individual units the authority to organise their own functions," Danve told Firstpost as a face saver.
Is a leader who isn't kept in the loop by his bosses and juniors in the party secure in his job as the head of the state unit?
Danve is close to the late Gopinath Munde camp and that's not helping matters even more. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is distancing himself from key leaders of the camp like Eknath Khadse and Pankaja Munde.
The central leadership specially party president Amit Shah is not happy with Danve’s earlier statement a day before Shah asked Khadse to tender his resignation. Danve had announced that the party was backing Khadse and he would not resign. There are indications that Danve was misinformed and was not consulted on the Khadse issue.
Before the Khadse incident happened, the state BJP chief was ignored by Fadnavis who announced the MLC candidates after consulting only the Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar. All five candidates were directly cleared by the Chief Minister, Shelar and Amit Shah.
However, sources close to Danve confirmed that the way Fadnavis is treating Danve it won't augur well for party cadres specially those belonging to the Maratha category and OBC.
In another development, the concept of atal bandhan is a hijacked one as the Shiv Sena had already launched the 'Shivbandhan'. This could trigger a fresh round of tensions between the two parties although Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and Fadnavis are trying hard to bring some thaw in the already strained partnership.
Similar to the Shiv Sena's programme, the BJP launched the "atal bandhan" programme and marked it by tying a band around the wrist of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The Shivbandhan saw Shiv Sainiks tie a saffron band around their wrists as a pledge of loyalty to the party.
Atal bandhan is a concept developed by the party to pledge commitment to development work and the welfare of people, and this was launched in Mumbai on Independence Day by Fadnavis.
"On the lines of raksha bandhan, where sisters tie rakhis to brothers, we have created 'atal bandhan' which means true commitment. We have extended it to development work and welfare schemes of people," Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar said.
He said the party will continue the programme across Mumbai and Konkan region.
Leave alone Shelar, Danve was so unaware about the programme that not even new entrant to the party Prasad Lad cared to inform the state chief about it.