The new cabinet of Eknath Shinde is said to include names like Pratap Sarnaik and Sanjay Bansod. Both of them along with Shinde were being harassed by central agencies, forcing them to cast their lot with the BJP. Shinde, who led the rebellion, is said to be a partner of a leading builder. Their construction company in Thane and Navi Mumbai is said to be as big as the other major players like Hiranandani. Not surprisingly the company was also under the scanner of the central agencies.He would be hoping that Kanhaiya Kumar, who had called BJP a laundromat, is proved right.
Not that the MLAs belonging to the BJP do not have business interests or are squeaky clean. Mangalprabhat Lodha, a five-time MLA, is also a builder with declared assets worth Rs. 441 Crore. He is the second richest MLA in the Maharashtra Assembly, where 99 percent of the MLAs happen to be crorepatis. The richest MLA Parag Shah also belongs to the BJP and declared assets worth Rs. 500 crore in his affidavit.
Shah had replaced Prakash Mehta as the BJP candidate after Mehta, also a developer, got embroiled in two major scandals as minister in the previous Devendra Fadnavis government between 2014 and 2019. As minister he tried to reassign land designated for a transit camp to slum redevelopment to favour a particular builder.
He was also accused of ensuring windfall gains of more than Rs. 1,000 crore to a builder. But BJP allowed him to complete his full term as minister and Fadnavis passionately defended him. He was however denied ticket in 2019 as the BJP felt it would be seen as an endorsement of corruption and become a campaign issue. No central agency is known to have gone after him.