The party has also named senior MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha as president of the Mumbai city unit.
Mumbai: Ahead of the state Assemby elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) on Tuesday appointed veteran leader Chandrakant Patil as the new chief of its Maharashtra unit.
Mr Patil faces the challenge of repeating the stupendous success that the party achieved in the state during the recently held Lok Sabha polls. The party has also named senior MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha as president of the Mumbai city unit.
Mr Patil succeeds Raosaheb Danve, who resigned from the post of state chief earlier on Monday. Mr Danve was made a minister of state (MoS) of consumer affairs in the Union Cabinet after the BJP-government came to power at the Centre.
According to party sources, Mr Patil’s close relationship with BJP president and Union home minister Amit Shah proved a major factor in his becoming the chief of the state unit.
“Ahead of the Assembly polls, Mr Shah wanted someone who could implement his plans and strategies effectively. In addition to this, like Mr Danve, Mr Patil is also a Maratha. These factors suit him perfectly for heading the party in the state,” said a party insider.
Mr Patil also enjoys the image of a crafty manipulator in state politics. After the BJP came to power five years ago, he has been successful in controlling and influencing others to spread the party across the state. Furthermore, he knows the party machinery inside out as he had been active in the organisation for the past 25 years before becoming a minister, he added.
According to sources in the party, the BJP decided to replace Mr Danve with Mr Patil as it has a ‘one-person, one-post’ principle, wherein a minister cannot be state president at the same time. While MPs and legislators can simultaneously hold organisational posts, the party rarely allows a person to hold a government and party post together.
Mr Patil hails from Kolhapur district in western Maharashtra, once a stronghold of the Congress and the NCP. As a revenue and PWD minister in the Devendra Fadnavis-led government, he is believed to have been the number two in the state Cabinet.