Mumbai: In a major organisational revamp, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has appointed former ministers Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Ashish Shelar as the chief of the party’s Maharashtra and Mumbai units, respectively, here on Friday.
Bawankule and Shelar, both sitting legislators, replace Chandrakant Patil and Mangal Prabhat Lodha, who have been appointed as ministers in the government of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde earlier this week.
As per the directives of BJP President J.P. Nadda, both appointments have been made with immediate effect, said the announcement made by BJP national secretary Arun Singh.
The organisational revamp comes ahead of the upcoming civic polls, where the party hopes to give a tough challenge to the Maha Vikas Aghadi of Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress.
While Bawankule, an MLC, is a former energy minister and a OBC leader from Nagpur, Maratha leader from Mumbai Shelar is an MLA and former education minister with interests spawning from cricket to Bollywood.
Both were ministers in the erstwhile BJP-led government (2014-2019) of ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis and are considered his close associates, known for taking regular potshots at the MVA constituents.
Though Bawankule, a farmer, was denied a ticket in the 2019 Assembly polls, he was elected to the legislative council in June this year.
For Shelar, a lawyer, the Mumbai BJP President stint will be a second one as the party now hopes to capture the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the country’s richest civic body ruled by Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray since nearly three decades, as part of its ‘Mission 2022’.
The crucial reshuffle came barely six weeks after the MVA government was toppled following a revolt by the Shinde faction which later joined hands with the BJP to form the new regime in Maharashtra on June 30.