The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made major changes to its organisational structure on Tuesday by appointing Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil as head of the State unit of the party.
It also appointed Malabar Hill MLA and founder of the real estate Lodha Group, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, as the Mumbai unit chief in place of Ashish Shelar, who has been inducted into the government as a Cabinet Minister.
Mr. Patil replaces Raosaheb Danve, who has been inducted into the Union Cabinet in the second term of the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre. Announcing the appointment of the two leaders, party national secretary Arun Singh said the changes have been approved by party president Amit Shah. “The appointments are from immediate effect,” Mr. Singh said on Tuesday.
Senior leaders said as per party rules, one can not hold the same term for two years. It was with this in mind that Mr. Danve met the Prime Minster in New Delhi and requested for a change of guard earlier this month. Mr. Danve is believed to have told Mr. Modi it would be difficult for him to juggle the responsibilities of State chief along with that of the Union minister in the run-up to the elections in Maharashtra. “We have some very capable leaders in our party and they can perhaps come forward to take this responsibility,” he said.
Mr. Danve was appointed State party chief in 2015 and has been instrumental in the BJP expanding its base across the rural hinterland. “The BJP has since captured 25,000 gram sabhas, 23 Members of Parliament (MPs) and 18 corporations across rural Maharashtra. We have only managed to do so under the able leadership and guidance of the PM and Mr. Shah,” he said.
Mr. Patil has been Cabinet Minister since July 2016, handling the Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation and Public Works department (PWD). A prominent member of the BJP, he is also the Guardian Minister of Kolhapur and Pune districts.
Speaking on his appointment Mr. Lodha said, “The party has entrusted me with a major responsibility and I plan to fulfil it diligently. I would do that keeping in mind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas.”