NCP poaches another Cong leader | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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NCP poaches another Cong leader

Dealing a blow to the Congress in Konkan, Shankar Kambli – a former Sena legislator and follower of industries minister Narayan Rane – joined the Nationalist Congress Party on Monday.

mumbai Updated: Jan 31, 2012 02:11 IST
HT Correspondent

Dealing a blow to the Congress in Konkan, Shankar Kambli – a former Sena legislator and follower of industries minister Narayan Rane – joined the Nationalist Congress Party on Monday.

This comes close on the heels of the induction of another Congress leader and former legislator, Pushpasen Sawant, into the NCP. Kambli, who joined the NCP in the presence of state party president Madhukar Pichad said that he was being sidelined in the Congress. “I decided to move to a party that had a development agenda and will treat me with respect,” said Kambli.

The move will put Congress leader Rane on the back foot again in his home turf of Konkan, where he is keen on establishing his supremacy. Rane had suffered a defeat here in the recently concluded municipal council elections as well, where NCP won three councils.

This latest poaching is in line with the party’s aggressive expansion strategy for the upcoming civic elections. The party also has its eye on the 2014 assembly polls. The party of the sugar barons has been increasing its sphere of influence outwards from its bastion of Western Maharashtra under the leadership of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. Kambli’s is the tenth senior leader to have joined NCP in the last six months.

According to sources, the defection is also being viewed as part of the ongoing tussle between Pawar and Rane. Rane has been hitting out at Pawar in his speeches and recently even put up posters saying he would disrobe the NCP in the upcoming polls.

In Konkan, a former Sena bastion, NCP has already managed to establish a stronghold. In the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg coastal belt, out of the existing 7 assembly seats, NCP has 3 seats under its belt and hopes to better this count in 2014.

Denying that the NCP was playing dirty, Pichad said: “We have a policy of welcoming all good leaders and party workers who are keen on development agenda.