'BJP's Ability to Replace Casteism by Nationalism': Party Vice President Points at its Strength in Maharashtra

'BJP's Ability to Replace Casteism by Nationalism': Party Vice President Points at its Strength in Maharashtra

New Delhi: The BJP's success in replacing caste identities with the spirit of nationalism and the caste-neutral image of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra are working in its favour, party's vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said on Sunday.

Sahasrabuddhe, who himself hails from Maharashtra, said the state politics has always been caste ridden, but in the last five years the BJP government has succeeded in shunning its identification with any caste group.

Today the BJP has succeeded in melting caste identities in the state into a strong feeling of nationalism into a social cultural group with nationalistic outlook. This has made the party the strongest force in the state, he told PTI.

Recalling that opposition parties used to describe BJP as 'shetji-bhatji' party, a party of Brahmins and trading communities, Sahasrabuddhe said the party has a stronger presence now than the Congress and NCP in their bastion of north and western Maharashtra.

Attributing party's expansion to Fadnavis, Sahasrabuddhe said he ensured uniform development across the state rather than just focusing on his constituency and its nearby areas.

The development work earlier used to be focused in and around the areas of influence of the chief minister of the day, but Fadnavis worked for the entire state, he said.

Citing various "bold" decisions of the BJP government in the state, including reservations for Marathas, Sahasrabuddhe said, Fadnavis has emerged as a caste-neutral leader in the last five years.

So far in all state assembly elections, the incumbent chief minister always used to be identified with one caste or a group of castes, but perhaps this is the first time when no such labelling has been done, he said.

Talking about the BJP's alliance with the Shiv Sena, Sahasrabuddhe said, It is a natural coalition of like-minded parties.

Unlike last time, both the BJP and Shiv Sena are fighting together this time and if one goes by the outcome of the recent Lok Sabha elections, the alliance is set to get a massive majority, he said.

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