Second time in five years, Sushil Kumar Shinde claims he got BJP 'offer' to switch parties
Not specifying when the offer from the BJP came or from whom, Shinde said this was despite the fact that he had lost the elections twice on Congress tickets
For the second time in five years, former Maharashtra chief minister and Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday claimed he and his MLA daughter Praniti Shinde have "got offers to join the Bharatiya Janata Party".
Not specifying when the offer from the BJP came or from whom, Shinde said this was despite the fact that he had lost the elections twice on Congress tickets.
Asked about his response, a smiling Shinde said he is 83 now and has been a staunch Congress loyalist all his life, "so there’s no question of my daughter or me accepting any such offers".
Queried by media persons, BJP state president Chandrashekhar Bawankule categorically denied that any such offer had been made to either Shinde or his daughter.
BJP MLA Nitesh N. Rane took a swipe at the Congress and said since Shinde had lost hope within his own party, "now he’s trying to push his daughter to the BJP".
Shinde shot back that he was not bothered about these reactions, but "a top BJP leader had given us the proposal to join, which we rejected outright".
Senior Congress leader Yashomati Thakur said the BJP has no talent and is trying to take away leaders from other parties, but expressed confidence that senior leaders like Shinde or his daughter would not deviate from the party.
Just before the Lok Sabha elections in March 2019, Shinde had made a similar statement that had sent shockwaves through political circles, though the claim was once again trashed by senior BJP leaders at the time.
This time, the situation is different as Shinde’s revelation comes just three days after the abrupt exit of high-profile Congress veteran Milind M. Deora, who joined the Shiv Sena faction led by chief minister Eknath Shinde.
Interestingly, CM Shinde and other leaders have claimed that Deora’s departure "is just a trailer, the main picture is still to come", sparking concerns among senior leaders of the grand old party, as memories of the June 2022 Shiv Sena split and the July 2023 Nationalist Congress Party breakup are still fresh in memory.