Senior Nationalist Congress Party leader and ex-Minister Ganesh Naik, who lost the recent Assembly election in his stronghold of Navi Mumbai, could very well be on his way to the Bharatiya Janata Party, as reported by Hindustan Times.
His party corporators and workers have asked him to resign from the NCP and join the BJP. They said Naik should take the decision in the interest of Navi Mumbai’s development and in their interest as elections to the civic body are due in four months. Sources said a final decision could come very soon.
Party corporators and workers held a meeting at Vishnudas Bhave auditorium in Vashi on Thursday stating they wanted to express their feelings to Naik, after the recent electoral setbacks. They claimed Naik had not called the meeting and had no idea of its outcome.
While Naik himself was not present, his sons, former Thane MP Sanjeev Naik and Airoli MLA Sandeep Naik, and nephew, Navi Sagar Naik, sat among the party workers and not on the stage, occupied by senior corporators and party leaders.
Said corporator Bharat Nakhate, “Despite all the good work Ganesh Naik has done, he lost the Belapur constituency by a very close margin. People who have done little for the city are today taking credit.”
He added, “We are all supporters of Ganesh Naik and hence want to convey to him that he will now have to take a decision. We will go to whichever party he chooses. For us there is only Ganesh Naik’s party.”
Corporator Kishore Patkar was more forthright. He said, “Senior NCP party leaders have in fact created hurdles in the development of Navi Mumbai going against Ganesh Naik’s policies. When he sent a 2.5 FSI proposal for redevelopment of dilapidated buildings through NMMC, Pramod Hindurao, a close associate of Ajit Pawar, sent a proposal of 3 FSI through CIDCO to put a spoke in the wheel.” He added, “We have had enough and now cannot go to the people NCP members. Naik saheb should resign from the party. We will all start resigning within a couple of days starting from the ward level.”
The new party, Patkar said, has to be BJP as they have the urban development ministry and Navi Mumbai’s development is linked to it.”
Agreeing with him, corporator Vaibhav Gaikwad said, “Ganesh Naik has not got his due in the NCP and several of his projects have been on hold due to the lack of support.”
Stated Gaikwad, “Modi’s agenda is development and Ganesh Naik has done it in Navi Mumbai, which is the smart city model Modi is talking about. Moving to the BJP is the natural course of action for us all.”
Stated corporator Aparna Gavte, “Naik saheb did not take the decision prior to Assembly polls as he did not want to ditch the party at a crucial time. He will now have to take a decision as our future is at stake and the interest of the people who have high hopes of from him.”
Cautioning his party workers against going overboard, Sanjeev Naik said, “This was a private meeting where opinions were expressed. For the next few days, do not indulge in any loose talk or attack the party or its leadership. Pawar saheb is in hospital and so we should all exercise restraint.”
He also asked his partymen to not rake up the issue of Naiks contesting the NMMC elections as Ganesh Naik has already declared that none from his family will do so.