As Maharashtra polls draw closer, NCP leader Ganesh Naik and Congress leader Harshvardhan Patil joined the ruling BJP.
Mumbai| With just over a month left for the Maharashtra assembly polls, a top leader from the Congress and NCP joined the BJP. Former Minister Harshvardhan Patil (Indapur, Pune) of the Congress and Navi Mumbai’s strongman Ganesh Naik of the NCP top the names in the list of those who joined the BJP in presence of Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.
Patil joined BJP at an event in south Mumbai in the presence of CM Fadnavis. He said he had been waiting for the former Minister to join the party for the last five years. Fadnavis also indicated that Patil will be the candidate from Indapur assembly seat in next month’s election.
Not only Congress but NCP Chief Pawar also has another reason to worry. His close aide and former minister Ganesh Naik, also jumped ship to join the BJP along with fifty-five corporators of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC).
“If Harshvardhan Patil would have taken this decision even two days before the Lok Sabha elections, we would have ousted Sharad Pawar from Baramati. It was our dream to send Supriya Sule home,” Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said. Sule is the NCP MP from Baramati.
Patil’s entry will add to the BJP’s arsenal against its rival NCP in Indapur, which neighbours Pawar’s stronghold of Baramati.
Ganesh Naik has been a cabinet minister for the 15 years holding important portfolio. Naik’s family has ruled the satellite town of Navi Mumbai for years.
But Naik’s inductions had led to some internal tussle in the BJP as local leader Manda Mhatre had raised strong objections to his entry.
A leader representing the Agri Community, Naik contested the 2014 assembly polls from Belapur but lost to the BJP’s Manda Mhatre.
The BJP state leader may have to face some tough times in keeping the peace between the warring factions of Mhatre and Naik.