Navi Mum BJP leaders likely to defect to Shiv Sena, NCPUpdated: Feb 14, 2020 01:00 IST
The Ganesh Naik-led BJP could split in Navi Mumbai with several of his loyalists set to join the Shiv Sena and even return to the Nationalist Congress Party(NCP). The change in loyalties is in the wake of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) elections to be held in April.
The NCP had 52 members in the NMMC house and the support of 5 Independents. The BJP had just 6 members in the house. However, when Ganesh Naik joined BJP before the last Assembly election, 55 NCP and independent corporators went with him to the BJP. Only 2 NCP corporators — Ashok Gawde and his daughter Sapna Gawde — stayed back. This led to the BJP taking control of the house in NMMC.
Now with the draw recently been conducted for reservation of wards, corporators and local leaders are in a mood to realign taking into consideration the local conditions and also the belief that the BJP wave no longer holds sway.
Staunch Naik loyalist and three-time NMMC standing committee chairman, Suresh Kulkarni, has initiated the march out of the party. Last week, he invited top Sena leaders to a programme conducted in his area with Naik not part of the event. Kulkarni, who has four other Turbhe corporators with him, including his wife, also met chief minsiter Uddhav Thackeray.
On Thursday, amidst reports of his resignation, he said, “Me and four other Turbhe corporators will resign in the general body meeting on Monday.”
“Throughout my political career I have been with Naik, however, the people of my area do not want me to be in the BJP. There is a large Muslim and Dalit population here that is not comfortable with the party,”he added.
Meanwhile, three BJP women corporators and four former corporators met deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar in Mumbai on Thursday, with sources claiming that they plan to return to the party. Naik refused to comment on the matter.