The exit of three former Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) legislators — former Magathane legislator Pravin Darekar, Nashik strongman Vasant Gite and former Kalyan MLA Ramesh Patil — on Tuesday may end up destabilising the party’s hold over the civic corporations in the three cities.
Sources said the leaders were in touch with MNS corporators in their respective cities and could end up causing a rift in the party in the Nashik civic body, where it rules with the support of the NCP and cause a major upset in the upcoming Kalyan-Dombivli civic polls, where it is currently the second largest party.
The MNS has, however, rubbished the possibilities.
According to party sources, Nashik strongman and former legislator Vasant Gite has threatened to split the party in the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC), where it has 40 corporators. Gite has apparently promised the BJP that he was in touch with 7-10 corporators who could move.
Darekar has claimed he was in touch with a few of the 28 corporators the party has in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
“There are many in the party who have expressed their support to me, but I don’t want to split the MNS. So, I won’t try and lure any elected members. I have not even inducted my brother into the party with me,” Darekar said, referring to his brother Prakash, also a MNS corporator.
Patil, however, is likely to damage the MNS’ prospect in the upcoming KDMC polls later this year. The MNS is the second largest party in the civic body and got two of the 13 MLAs elected from the city in 2009.
A senior MNS leader, close to party chief Raj Thackeray, however rubbished the threats.
“The fact no other corporators joined the BJP with these leaders is proof of how little clout they had. These threats to split the party are just a ploy to barter for a better post with the BJP.”