In a major blow to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Thane, Sanjay Bhoir — opposition leader in the Thane Municipal Corporation — his wife Usha, and his father Devram — who held the post twice in the past — joined the Shiv Sena on Monday.
Nine sitting corporators, including the Bhoirs, have left the NCP in the past few weeks and joined either the Shiv Sena or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Bhoirs had a stronghold in Dhokali, Balkum, Majiwada and Kolshet. Devram had won six consecutive elections, while Sanjay had won four. Their defection has left the NCP scrambling to find new faces to represent the party in these areas.
“Our family has been loyal to the NCP since the inception of the TMC. However, the party has demeaned us several times. I held the post of opposition leader only on paper, I did not have the right to make any decisions. Despite single-handedly winning seats for the party along the Ghodbunder belt, our superiors did not support us. The party’s focus is only on developing Kalwa and Mumbra, while they ignore Thane,” Sanjay Bhoir told HT.
He added that the family’s aim of developing the city only seemed possible if they left the opposition and joined the party in power. However, many claimed that Devram was promised the post of mayor, as well as an assembly seat if he joined the Shiv Sena. Devram has denied these claims.
“The Shiv Sena welcomed us, but did not promise us any seats. We joined the party seeking development,” Sanjay added.
NCP city president Anand Paranjpe said the Bhoirs’ exit will not create a vacuum in the party. “New leadership will emerge in these areas,” he told reporters.
Defectors from the NCP include Yogesh Jankar and Laxman Tikmani, who joined the Shiv Sena and corporators Pragati Araj, Manohar Dumbre and Bharat Chavan, who joined the BJP.
Former Congress corporator Ravindra Patil joined the Shiv Sena on Monday.