To gain an upper hand over ally BJP in the upcoming assembly polls, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is on a spree of inducting Congress and National Congress Party (NCP) defectors and leaders with considerable clout in areas where the Sena is not as prominent.
On Friday, Anil Babar, a former independent legislator from Sangli’s Khanapur, was welcomed into the party by Thackeray.
Just the previous day, former Congress MLA Sanjay Ghatge from Kolhapur joined the Sena.
In the last few months, over 20 leaders, many of them from the ruling alliance, have been inducted into the Sena.
Prominent recruits include NCP legislator Deepak Kesarkar and Pratap Chikhlikar, a former independent legislator from Nanded. Dhavalsinh, nephew of NCP MP Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil is also on the list.
“We want to ensure that we get people who have the capability to win seats or help us win seats and eventually increase our tally.
Our aim is not only to come to power but win more seats than the BJP, to stake our claim on the CM’s post,” said Sena leader Ramdas Kadam, who is part of the core committee formed by Thackeray to work out the election strategy.
Thackeray has been touring the state extensively since June 24 this year, when he launched a month-long enrollment campaign.
“We will not compromise our original formula. We have strong people from different parts of Maharashtra approaching us to join the Sena, which shows that success is just a few months away,” said Sena leader Subhash Desai.
He dismissed rumours that the parties were not fighting elections together.