The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Sunday welcomed Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray's daughter-in-law Smita's move to join the Congress, saying such a move will "weaken communal forces".
“If she has a realisation that she was at a wrong place, if she comes to the secular framework, it should be welcomed,” NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar told IANS.
The NCP is the alliance partner of the Congress in Maharashtra and the two parties won a majority in last month's assembly elections.
Anwar dismissed speculation about the NCP having reservations on Smita Thackeray's entry into the Congress as it could alienate Muslims from the ruling coalition.
“There is nothing like this. We will welcome any move which weakens communal and secular forces. The weaker Shiv Sena gets, better it is for secular forces,” he said.
The NCP leader said there was “resentment” in Shiv Sena rank and file against the party leadership and the feeling was reaching top levels in the party.
“Shiv Sena workers are demoralised after the party's defeat in the assembly polls,” he said.
Smita Thackeray had praised Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi in a newspaper interview and had wanted to be part of the "good work" being done by the party.