The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) continued to poach leaders of other political parties ahead of municipal corporation and Zilla Parishad polls.
NCP's latest acquisition is former Congress legislator Pushapsen Sawant from Konkan. Sawant, known senior Congress leader Narayan Rane's rival, joined the NCP at a function held at Kudal in Rane's Sindhudurg district on Sunday. The function was presided over by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.
In the city, former mayor and Shiv Sena leader Datta Dalvi's son Gaurav Dalvi also joined the NCP on Sunday. Dalvi is likely to get a ticket to contest the BMC polls from Bhandup.
Though Datta Dalvi is still with the Sena, sources said he is likely to follow his son's footsteps soon.
With these developments, the NCP has poached three senior leaders in the last week, snaring one each from rivals Congress, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena.
Before Sawant, NCP created quite a stir by supporting two key leaders from rival camps - BJP MLC Dhananjay Munde, who is also nephew of the party's senior leader Gopinath Munde; and Shiv Sena's sitting MP Anand Paranjpe.
Both Munde and Paranjpe are yet to formally join the NCP. However, Munde's brother Pandit Anna has formally signed up with the Sharad Pawar-led party.
Sawant, a two-time Congress legislator is a known Rane-baiter and the NCP is hoping to use him to add to its strength in the coming Panchayat Samiti and Zilla Parishad polls.
The party has been successful in dominating Konkan, where the Shiv Sena once held sway. The NCP has also managed to dilute Rane's hold in his home turf in the recent municipal council polls. Getting into the act, Sawant launched an attack on Rane as well as the state congress at the function, while Pawar also ticked off Rane albeit without naming him.