BJP splits in Khadse’s hometown: 6 corporators defect to Sena
Six Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporators from Muktainagar Municipal Council joined the Shiv Sena in presence of party chief and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray at his official residence Varsha on Wednesday. The entry of the BJP corporators could also start a tussle between Eknath Khadse, who quit the BJP to join Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and the Sena in former’s hometown.
The BJP rules the 17-member civic body. However, Khadse claimed all party corporators owed allegiance to him. He also claimed that only four corporators have joined the Sena, while two are former corporators.
Sena minister and party functionary from north Maharashtra Gulabrao Patil said, “Six BJP corporators from Muktainagar have joined the Sena today. Four others will be joining the party tomorrow. With three Sena corporators joining, our strength is now 13 in the 17-member [in Muktainagar civic] body.”
Khadse, however, said the corporators who defected to Sena are expected to be disqualified as some of them have forged their caste certificate. “Four corporators have joined the Sena, not six. Three of them are expected to be disqualified; their hearing is ongoing with the district collector. Some have given fake caste certificate among other other issues. The hearing is on June 1. They have been lured into the party with the promise that their imminent disqualification will be stayed by the minister. So out of fear, they have gone there,” Khadse said.
The NCP leader added that eight BJP corporators owe allegiance to him and are still with the party. “The remaining eight corporators are my supporters and still with BJP,” he said.
When asked if this is a setback for BJP or Khadse, Patil said, “It is up to you to decide that, but we have got BJP corporators to join Sena, and I am confident that even Nathabhau (Khadse) must be happy with it.” He added that these are BJP councillors and not those who won on NCP ticket.
“These are BJP councillors and followers of Khadse, but they decided to join the Sena. We have not inducted corporators who fought on NCP symbol, but BJP’s. We are confident that everybody will welcome them in Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi, like we welcomed Nathabhau. Even we thought that they would go to NCP, but they decided to join the Sena. Having said that, they have joined MVA only,” Patil said.
Significantly, Khadse played a crucial role in helping the Sena wrest control of Jalgaon Municipal Corporation from BJP earlier this year. Khadse hinted that there could be another change of power in Jalgaon civic body soon. “The BJP is trying to gather numbers; they only need six or seven seats to get mayor post. There are signs of another change of power in Jalgaon where BJP can take control,” Khadse said.