Kiran Pawaskar, who led the Shiv Sena’s trade union, joined the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday, a day after he resigned as legislator and quit the Sena.
Senior leader, Chhagan Bhujbal, home minister, RR Patil, and deputy chief minister, Ajit Pawar, came together to welcome Pawaskar.
Pawaskar’s entry is being seen as an achievement for Pawar, who is keen on strengthening the party’s base in Mumbai ahead of the 2012 civic polls.
“We know that Pawaskar’s entry will add to our strength in Mumbai, especially in view of the upcoming civic polls, and strengthen us in Konkan,’’
He did not spell out Pawaskar’s role although sources said Pawaskar could get re-elected as a member of the Legislative Council from the NCP.
With Pawaskar’s entry, the NCP has got itself a readymade base of aviation workers’ unions.
Pawaskar said he quit the party because he felt humiliated. “I head 22 aviation unions with 70-80,000 members. But for the last two years, I have not been able to do anything for them because I don’t have the powers,’’ he said.
He said he also had differences with Sena executive president, Uddhav Thackeray. Thackeray said he did not wish to comment on the issue.
Representatives of more than eight workers’ unions, mostly from the aviation sector accompanied Pawaskar on Thursday. He also issued a veiled threat to the Sena.
“I am not moving out to speak ill of anyone. But if they [the Sena] throw a stone at me, I will retaliate,” he said.
Patil said there will be more surprise entries into the NCP before the civic polls.
“His entry will strengthen us in Mumbai and help us in the civic polls. But he also gets real power to strengthen his base and resolve the unions’ issues because the NCP is in power in the state and the aviation ministry is headed by NCP minister, Praful Patel,’’ a party functionary said requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.