Former Maharashtra ministers Ganesh Naik and Harshavardhan Patil may join BJP
There is also speculation that two other Congress leaders are likely to join the ruling party. This includes former state minister Kripashankar Singh, who resigned from the party on Tuesday and Congress MLC Ananrao Patil, considered to be close to former CM Prithviraj Chavan.Updated: Sep 11, 2019 02:55 IST
Ahead of the assembly polls, the saga of political defections from the Opposition to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to continue.
On Wednesday, two senior Opposition leaders and former ministers, including Congress’s Harshavardhan Patil and Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Ganesh Naik, are likely to join the ruling party.
Patil, a four-term MLA from Indapur constituency in Pune district, served as a state minister in both the two terms of the Congress-NCP government from 2004 to 2014. He was defeated in the Assembly polls in 2014 by NCP candidate Dattatray Barne. Patil is joining the BJP as the NCP has refused to cede the Indapur seat to the Congress.
Naik’s son Sandeep had joined the BJP last month and his entry was on the cards since then. Former minister and ex-Sena leader Naik’s writ runs large in Navi Mumbai, but he lost 2014 Assembly polls to BJP candidate and former NCP party leader Manda Mhatre. Both Patil and Naik were not available for comment.
But both the leaders have made their intentions clear to their supporters. In a public meeting held in Indapur last week, Patil, in his address, alleged the NCP had backtracked on its promise to concede the seat to Congress. “On this basis, we had worked for NCP candidate Supriya Sule and even gave her a lead of 71,000 votes from our constituency,” Patil had said.
Similarly, Naik has kept his supporters informed and is likely to join the BJP with all NCP corporators from Navi Mumbai. “While Harshavardhan is expected to join the BJP at 3pm, Naik will follow at 5pm. They will be inducted in a function presided over by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Both will contest polls from their respective constituencies (Indapur and Belapur) on BJP tickets,” said a senior BJP leader and minister.
There is also speculation that two other Congress leaders are likely to join the ruling party. This includes former state minister Kripashankar Singh, who resigned from the party on Tuesday and Congress MLC Ananrao Patil, considered to be close to former CM Prithviraj Chavan.
Singh is likely to get a BJP ticket to contest from Chandivili assembly constituency. Patil had met Fadnavis on Tuesday.
So far, six sitting Opposition MLAs, including NCP MLAs Shivendra Bhosale, Vaibhav Pichad, Sandip Naik, Ranajagjitsinh and Congress MLAs Kalidas Kolambar, Jaykumar Gore have joined the BJP, besides several other former legislators and MPs. The party has been poaching leaders from established political families, who will definitely secure the seat for it.
Meanwhile, Fadnavis will embark on phase three of his Mahajandesh Yatra from September 13 and will tour western Maharashtra and Konkan constituencies.