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2019 Lok Sabha elections: Party hopping continues, BJP inducts a NCP leader and ex-Cong corporator

There is speculation that Chheda may be asked to contest from Mumbai North East instead of sitting MP Kirit Somaiya

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 23, 2019 00:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis welcomes Pravin Chheda from the Congress and Bharati Pawar from the NCP into the BJP, at Churchgate on Friday.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, candidate hopping continued on Friday with Bharati Pawar, NCP leader from North Maharashtra; and Pravin Chh-eda, former Congress corporator from Mumbai, joining the BJP. Both moved over to the BJP in the presence of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Pawar, NCP’s candidate from Dindori constituency in North Maharashtra in 2014, is likely to get the BJP ticket from the constituency. Pawar, daughter- in-law of former minister AT Pawar, had been defeated by BJP’s Harishchandra Chavan. However, three-term MP Chavan may be asked to sit out as his ground reports have not been favourable and BJP is keen on a new face here. The NCP had denied Pawar a ticket and recently inducted Sena leader Dhananjay Mahale sparking Pawar’s revolt. The Dindori seat, reserved for STs, is likely to witness an interesting three-corner contest between NCP, BJP and CPI (M).

Chheda had joined Congress in 2012, but lost the BMC polls against BJP’s Parag Shah in 2017. A prominent Gujarati face from Ghatkopar, Chedda termed his joining the BJP as ‘gharwapasi’. Both Pawar and Chheda said that they had joined the BJP as they were impressed with the development works undertaken by the Modi-led government. “I have rejoined BJP after seven years of ‘vanwas’ (exile) without any expectation from the party,” said Chheda.

There is speculation that Chheda may be asked to contest from Mumbai North East instead of sitting MP Kirit Somaiya as the latter has been opposed by the Sena. However, senior BJP leaders denied this. “Somiaya will most likely be given the ticket, but his name will be announced last. Chheda can play a crucial role in the Assembly polls. He is a well-known face and has resources, so is an asset,” said a senior BJP leader.

First Published: Mar 23, 2019 00:49 IST