Jolt for Congress as its Panvel MLA quits to join BJP

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Sep 18, 2014 17:00 IST

A Congress legislator from Panvel, Prashant Thakur, whose campaign rally for the 2009 polls had been flagged off by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, quit the party to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday. Thakur met BJP’s state unit president Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday and will be formally inducted into the party soon. He is likely to contest the same seat on a BJP ticket.

Thakur said he was fed up with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s slow decision making as well as his failure to deliver on an assurance he made about not charging commuters at the new Kamothe toll plaza on the Sion-Panvel road.

“I was told by the CM on July 12, a day after we carried out a big agitation against the Kamothe toll issue, that he would resolve it. I waited till September 12. But the issue is very important for my constituency and if it cannot be resolved even when my party is in power, then what is the point in staying with them?’’ said Thakur.

He is the first legislator to target Chavan publicly, because many others have made similar complaints, but only to the party’s top brass. The Congress was confident of winning from Thakur’s seat, therefore his resignation is a significant setback for the party. The Congress had only two legislators – Thakur and industries minister Narayan Rane — in the Konkan belt.

The Panvel legislator added several other issues he had flagged for his constituency remained on the back-burner for the CM. “We have been asking that people whose land was taken by the JNPT should get 12.5 % developed land as compensation since 2010. This GR was issued two days before PM Modi came to inaugurate the SEZ. If this decision was taken earlier, the Congress would have got some credit,’’ Thakur told HT.

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