A day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Mumbai, the Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launched the ‘Mission Baramati-2024’ to shake the bastion of the Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar and his family, here on Tuesday.
BJP state president Chandrashekhar Bawankule spent a day in Baramati to prepare for Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s 3-day visit to Baramati from September 22.
At a meeting of party workers, Bawankule said that the BJP will now target capturing Baramati which is among the 16 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state for which the party will pay special attention.
Baramati is the citadel of Sharad Pawar, 82, since the past 55 years and his daughter Supriya Sule is representing it in Lok Sabha.
“We have been fighting the elections but the BJP could never give a tough fight to NCP on its home ground Baramati. This time, we shall work hard to consolidate ourselves to give a strong challenge and wrest the seat,” Bawankule said.
He also declared that the BJP’s ambition for Maharashtra is to make a ‘clean sweep’ — win 45 out of the 48 Lok Sabha seats and over 200 of the 288 Assembly seats — during the Parliament and state elections scheduled in 2024.
Bawankule’s reactions met with sniggers from the NCP which pointed out that “Supriya Sule’s work speaks louder” than any claims made by outsiders, and Bawankule will never achieve his ‘dreams’.
NCP Chief Spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said that the BJP leaders are noted for making tall statements to grab media attention and hence should not be taken seriously.
“Supriya Sule is well-known in the constituency, her work in Baramati is recognised all over the country. She has bagged the prestigious ‘Sansad Ratna Award’ seven times,” Tapase said.
He asked whether Bawankule is even aware that all this (honours and accolades for Supriya Sule) happened during the BJP government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre.
“Bawankule should enlighten us how many BJP MPs from Maharashtra have been repeatedly accorded similar honours for their performance in parliamenta It will be interesting to see how Sitharaman, who has never won any Lok Saha election, will campaign against Supriya Sule,” said Tapase.
On his part, Bawankule met several top BJP leaders and legislators from Baramati like Harshwardhan Patil, (Mrs) Kanchan Kul, Vasudev Kale, legislators Rahul Kul, and Bhimrao Tapkir, among others.
During her trip, Sitharaman is likely to ascertain what the Centre can do for the better development of Baramati, carry out an assessment of the Garib Kalyan Schemes and how they benefit the needy and ensure the fruits of development to the poorest living in the remotest villages.