Congress MLA Kalidas Kolambkar claims he has offers from BJP, Shiv Sena
Kolambkar is a close aide of former chief minister Narayan Rane, who has already moved out and formed his own partyUpdated: Sep 26, 2018 11:57 IST
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
For the past few days, there has been speculation about Congress legislator Kalidas Kolambkar moving to the BJP, ahead of the 2019 elections. Kolambkar is a close aide of former chief minister Narayan Rane, who has already moved out and formed his own party.
The news gathered steam after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the Spring Mills Ganpati celebration organised by Kolambkar in Naiguam.
Kolambkar, who was once in Shiv Sena and defected to Congress along with Rane in 2005, said he was still undecided about his future.
“I have been invited by both, the BJP and the Sena to join them. Even the Congress is not keen to leave me,” said Kolambkar. “I will join the party which does work in my constituency.”
Though Kolambkar was expected to follow in the footsteps of Rane, after the latter quit Congress in September last year, the seven-term MLA is wary of his Muslim voters from the Sewri belt whose support helped him win in the 2014 Assembly polls by 800 votes. He thinks he will not be able to retain those votes if he switches over to the BJP.
Kolambkar, who is known to have a good connect with the people in his constituency in central Mumbai, started his career as a Shiv Sena shakha pramukh before graduating to corporator and later a legislator. Many in Sena also want Kolambkar to make a comeback, but Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is not keen, given that the former is a protégé of Rane whom Thackeray dislikes.
Although the BJP would like to have him on board, there is resentment in the local party unit as they feel Kolambkar will only promote his loyalists at the cost of old BJP workers, just as he did in the Congress party.
Significantly, in recent times, Kolambkar “has not been very happy with Rane”.
“Kolambkar feels ignored despite being a loyalist and a senior legislator. Rane was unable to back him to become a minister in the Congress-led governments in which Rane held lucrative ministries,” said an aide of the legislator.
First Published: Sep 26, 2018 05:35 IST