4 NCP-Congress MLAs resign in Maharashtra, may join BJP
In another setback to the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ahead of the Maharashtra assembly polls, three MLAs resigned on Tuesday.
Sources say the three lawmakers— Sandeep Naik, Vaibhav Pichad and Shivendrasinh Bhonsle — are expected to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday.
The current resignations take the number of lawmakers who left NCP in the last two months to five. Jaydutt Kshirsagar and Pandurang Barora have already joined Shiv Sena. Last week, Mumbai NCP president Sachin Ahir too left NCP and joined Shiv Sena.
A Congress MLA, Kalidas Kolambkar from Wadala assembly constituency in Mumbai, also resigned. He is also expected to join BJP on Wednesday.
Kolambkar has already declared that he will join BJP. A seven-time MLA, he is a close aide of former chief minister Narayan Rane. Kolambkar was one of the MLAs who left Shiv Sena along with Rane and joined Congress in 2006.
All the three NCP MLAs who quit on Tuesday submitted their resignations to Maharashtra assembly speaker Haribhau Bagade.
Sandeep Naik is son of Ganesh Naik, senior NCP leader and strongman from Navi Mumbai and represents the Airolo constituency. Shivendrasinh Bhonsle is an MLA from Satara while Vaibhav Pichad is the MLA of Akole seat in Ahmednagar.
In the 2014 state polls, NCP had won 41 of the 288 seats in the assembly.
“We don’t want to hurt NCP chief Sharad Pawar but people are of the view that NCP is not coming back to power without which development of the constituency is not possible,” said Pichad after submitting his resignation. He is the son of senior NCP leader Madhukar Pichad.
Sandeep Naik said everyone in his constituency is of the view that the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis is pro-development. “My family allowed me to take political decision of my choice. My father (Ganesh Naik) and brother (Sanjeev Naik) will take their own decisions,” Sandeep Naik said.
Girish Mahajan, the state water resources minister, known as the troubleshooter of the Devendra Fadnavis-led state BJP government said that the Congress and NCP leaders have lost trust in their leadership. “Around 50 MLAs together from the both the parties (Congress-NCP) wants to join BJP,” Mahajan said.