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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

NCP’s Bhaskar Jadhav next to join Shiv Sena?

If Jadhav quits the NCP to join the Sena, he would be another senior party leader to join the saffron party after Jaydutt Kshirsagar, Sachin Ahir and Pandurang Barora

mumbai Updated: Aug 26, 2019 04:42 IST
Swapnil Rawal and Ram Parmar
Swapnil Rawal and Ram Parmar
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Bhaskar Jadhav could be on his way back to the Shiv Sena. Jadhav met Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence Matoshree in suburban Bandra on Sunday.
Bhaskar Jadhav could be on his way back to the Shiv Sena. Jadhav met Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence Matoshree in suburban Bandra on Sunday.(Facebook/Bhaskar Jadhav)
         

In another major setback for the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), its heavyweight leader from Ratnagiri district Bhaskar Jadhav could be on his way back to the Shiv Sena. Jadhav met Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence Matoshree in suburban Bandra on Sunday.

If Jadhav quits the NCP to join the Sena, he would be another senior party leader to join the saffron party after Jaydutt Kshirsagar, Sachin Ahir and Pandurang Barora.

According to party insiders, Jadhav and Thackeray spoke for nearly an hour. No other leader or party functionaries were present during the interaction. The NCP leader, however, denied meeting Thackeray. “How many times have such news been circulated in the media? I am watching a movie right now. There was no meeting,” Jadhav said.

Jadhav is a sitting MLA from Guhagar in Ratnagiri district. He started his political career from the Shiv Sena in 1982 as a vibhag pramukh in Chiplun and soon jumped up the ladder. Jadhav was elected twice to the legislative Assembly on Sena ticket in 1995 and in 1999 from the Chiplun Assembly segment. He quit the Sena in 2004.

A key figure for the Sharad Pawar-led party in Ratnagiri, Jadhav joined the party in 2005, and was re-elected to the Assembly in 2009. He became a junior minister and a minister for various departments, including urban development, forest, port, sports, parliamentary affairs and youth welfare, in the Congress-NCP government. He was appointed the state president of the NCP in 2013.

Meanwhile, two-time Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) MLA from Boisar Vilas Tare joined the Shiv Sena on Sunday, in the presence of Thackeray. While inducting Tare, Thackeray said the party does not have any “washing power” as claimed by NCP’s Supriya Sule while taunting the party for taking in tainted leaders, but is inducting “good leaders who intend to work”.

Thackeray, meanwhile, said the seat-sharing formula will be decided by him, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP president Amit Shah. “We [the Sena and BJP] are together. The powers to decide on seat-sharing are with me, the chief minister and Amit Shah,” he said.

The Sena chief also hit out at the NCP for attempting to stake claim on Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji’s legacy by using saffron flag. “Merely using a saffron flag is of no use, saffron should be in the heart,” he said.

Public works department minister and senior Sena leader Eknath Shinde, who is said to have been instrumental in bringing Tare on board, was also present on the occasion along with Sena secretary Milind Narvekar. Sena insiders said Tare and Shinde held a secret meeting at a Vasai hotel on Sunday morning. Reacting to Tare joining the Sena, Thakur said, “For the past one month, we knew that Tare will switch over to the Sena, and now it’s official. We wish him luck for his political journey.”

BVA insiders said Tare had decided to join the Sena in the aftermath of the Lok Sabha election, when BVA’s candidate Baliram Jadhav lost to Sena’s Rajendra Gavit in Palghar constituency. The BVA’s fortunes had been hit after the election symbol ‘whistle’ was taken away by the Election Commission EC prior to the polls. “This made Tare rethink and he decided to go back, as he was elected twice as a ZP member on a Sena ticket,” an insider said.

Meanwhile, encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma, who recently resigned from the police force, is likely to contest on a Sena ticket from Nallasopara, party insiders said. They also said the Sena was considering giving the Palghar ticket to Srinivas Wanga, son of the late Chintaman Wanga, who died when he was the Palghar MP. As a result, Amit Ghoda, the current MLA from Palghar, may lose out on a ticket.

Thackeray had declared earlier that Srinivas would “get justice” and be accommodated suitably after he lost the LS bypoll to the BJP candidate in 2018.

First Published: Aug 25, 2019 23:58 IST