The Shiv Sena received a jolt on Wednesday when Kiran Pawaskar, a senior party leader and member of Legislative Council (MLC) and the leader of the party’s trade union, quit the Sena.
Sources said Pawaskar is likely to join the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and take at least 100 people from the Bharatiya Kamgar Sena, the party’s union, with him.
Pawaskar confirmed that he had resigned from his legislative post, but refused to reveal his next course of action.
Pawaskar also deviated from the tradition of giving the resignation to party chief Bal Thackeray. Instead, he directly went to the Vidhan Bhavan at Nariman Point on Wednesday and submitted his resignation from the legislator’s post to Shivajirao Deshmukh, the chairman of the Legislative Council.
After tendering his resignation, Pawaskar went to meet deputy chief minister and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar. But Pawar could not give him time because he had meetings scheduled.
Anant Kalse, principal secretary of the Legislative Council, said he had not received Pawaskar’s resignation from Deshmukh.
Sena leaders refused to comment.
A Sena source indicated that Pawaskar’s internal tussle with the Sena began a little more than a year ago when the new leadership started making other leaders, including Suryakant Mahadik and Vinayak Raut, share charge of the party’s unions.
Pawaskar’s unions in the aviation sector were handed over to Raut, thus reducing his importance in the party.
A state minister and NCP leader confirmed that Pawaskar was joining his party. “He is in talks with Pawar on the issue. The NCP might consider getting him back as an MLC and he will also be of great benefit considering the civic elections are due in 2012,” the NCP leader said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak on the issue.
Pawaskar, sources said, was also approached by the Congress and had a choice to go with senior leader and industries minister Narayan Rane, but he was not sure about what Rane would offer him.