Lok Sabha elections 2019: Congress MLA from city, Kolambkar to join BJP
The Congress on Wednesday suffered a setback as Kalidas Kolambkar, one of its legislators in the city, announced that he would soon join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and extended support to Shiv Sena candidate Rahul Shewale in Mumbai South Central constituency.
Kolambkar, a close aide of former chief minister Narayan Rane, said he would join after nod from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. “In my Wadala constituency, the BJP government solved issues related to BDD chawl redevelopment and housing for police personnel. The Congress government was apathetic to the plight of people. So I decided to join the BJP,” he said.
Kolambkar’s Assembly segment falls under Mumbai South Central constituency. “I will ensure a huge margin for Shewale,” said Kolambkar, who has been elected from this belt seven times.
His decision would be a shot in the arm for the Sena, as he is popular in central Mumbai’s Parel-Bhoiwada belt. Ironically, Kolambkar had quit the Sena with Rane in 2005.
Kolambkar, who cut his teeth in the Shiv Sena as a corporator, was later fielded in erstwhile Naigaum Assembly constituency, which became Wadala constituency after delimitation in 2004. In 2014, withstanding the Narendra Modi wave, he was one of the five Congress candidates who were elected to the legislative Assembly from Mumbai.
Although Rane quit the Congress to float his outfit Maharashtra Swabhimani Paksha and joined the BJP-led coalition last year, Kolambkar did not follow him. In the past two years, he has been putting up hoardings in support of Fadnavis, which had angered the Congress leadership. He has now decided to join the BJP.
Congress candidate in Mumbai South Central constituency Eknath Gaikwad downplayed the development. “It’s good that finally Kolambkar has made a decision. However, it will not have impact on me. I will definitely win as people are with me,” he said.