BJP’s multi-faceted Ashish Shelar: Not just a political player, also a sports enthusiast (LD)

Advocate Ashish Shelar, a former minister and current president of the Mumbai unit of Bharatiya Janata Party, is not only a master at political games, but is also a keen sports enthusiast, besides love for Bollywood and a passion for music.

Again in the fray for the coveted post of Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) president, Shelar, 50 — who enjoys a close personal rapport with Union Home Minister Amit Shah — will get cosier even with the Nationalist Congress Party, whose leaders are also contesting for various posts.

Political heavyweight Shelar threw his hat into the ring for returning as the MCA president after he filed his nomination papers on Monday, the last day of filing nominations for the October 20 election.

However, the BJP leader is also tipped to become the next BCCI treasurer. So, it will be interesting to see whether he will still go for the MCA top post or have a change of heart for an important role in the BCCI.

Upon being contacted for his comment on the ongoing development, Shelar was unreachable.

Notably, Congress leader and BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla on Tuesday said that Shelar will have to withdraw his nomination from the MCA president’s post if becomes BCCI treasurer.

“Once he (Shelar) takes over as a treasurer, he will have to withdraw his nomination from the MCA president’s post,” Shukla told reporters.

Having humble beginnings in a decrepit chawl in south-central Mumbai, Shelar studied for his B.Sc and later acquired a law degree, and remains adept at managing contrasting odds even in his public life — politics, sports, Bollywood, et al, and knows how to call a spade a spade, come what may, as the political Opposition in the state are well aware.

Starting as a young RSS volunteer, Shelar later served with the ABVP and BJYM, then climbed up to become a BJP municipal corporator and the party leader in the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), shot up to be awarded a term as MLC and now is a second term MLA from Bandra.

Almost at the fag-end of the previous BJP government led by former Chief Minister (now DyCM) Devendra Fadnavis, Shelar fulfilled his cherished dream of becoming a Minister, albeit for a brief period, but any further hopes for a cabinet berth were dashed as the BJP then lost power to the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

Even after the toppling of the MVA headed by ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray in June, Shelar faced disappointment as he was overlooked for a ministerial berth, but was consoled by the powerful post of Mumbai BJP chief.

A diehard fan of the legendary playback singer Mohammed Rafi, Shelar heads the Mumbai district football association with over 350 clubs as members, connected with the Rajasthan Sports Club, and was elected MCA member in 2015, later as President in 2017, and is now making a re-bid for the post of MCA President — with the possible help from NCP.

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