Harshawardhan Patil and Ganesh Naik join the BJP
The defection of both these leaders comes at a cost to their parent parties and is an advantage for the BJP ahead of the Assembly polls as well as in the long term.Updated: Sep 12, 2019 03:28 IST
Senior opposition leaders and former ministers Harshawardhan Patil (Congress) and Ganesh Naik (Nationalist Congress Party) joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday, in two separate functions held in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, in the presence of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The defection of both these leaders comes at a cost to their parent parties and is an advantage for the BJP ahead of the Assembly polls as well as in the long term. Four-term legislator and former parliamentary affairs minister Patil, a Maratha leader from western Maharashtra, comes with substantial ministerial experience as well as organisational skills.
Naik, former NCP minister and ex-Sena leader, a resourceful politician, controls the satellite city of Navi Mumbai. He joined along with his elder son and former NCP MP Sanjeev Naik and 48 of the 52 Navi Mumbai corporators. While two corporators have stayed with the NCP, the mayor and standing committee chairman have in a tactical move not joined the party to ensure there are no technical glitches to transfer the control of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation from NCP to BJP. Naik’s younger son, Sandeep Naik, had joined the BJP on July 31.
Both Patil and Naik are likely to be given tickets to contest from their home turfs, Indapur constituency in Pune district and Belapur constituency in Navi Mumbai, which they had lost in the 2014 assembly polls. “I have joined the BJP without putting any conditions. I will accept any responsibility that the party gives me whether it pertains to my taluka, Pune district or western Maharashtra. I have substantial experience of working in the region,” said Patil, while addressing the gathering at the function held at the Garware Club in the afternoon for his induction.
“For the past five years, we have been waiting for Patil to join our party. He has finally joined us at the right time. We are bound to benefit from the entry of such an experienced politician and minister,’’ said Fadnavis.
Naik, who joined later in the evening at a function held in Navi Mumbai, said, “The country has got several prime ministers over the years. However the leadership that was required to make India truly a global power and take it towards unprecedented progress has been provided by Narendra Modi.”
He also praised Fadnavis saying he had despite global recession he had taken Maharashtra towards progress.
“The BJP has received a big boost with Naik joining the party. He has supporters in Navi Mumbai, Mumbai and Thane district and this support will now be with BJP,” said the CM. “The mandate of the people is with us. It is now only a question of whether the Opposition gets 20 seats or 50 seats in the polls,” Fadnavis said.