Trade union leader Shashikant Shinde to be next state NCP chief?

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Published on Dec 28, 2019 12:17 AM IST
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ByShrinivas Deshpande, Mumbai

Shashikant Shinde, a trade union leader and former legislator, who played a key role in defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Satara Lok Sabha bypoll, has emerged as a frontrunner for the post of the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) state chief, sources within the party said on Friday.

According to a senior NCP leader, party chief Sharad Pawar, in a recent meeting, indicated that Shinde could be made successor to current state party president Jayant Patil, who is set to vacate the post, as he has been sworn-in as a minister in Uddhav Thackeray’s cabinet.

The party is also considering the names of legislators Jitendra Awhad and Dhananjay Munde.

However, the duo is likely to be inducted as ministers and may not be able to give enough time to the party’s organisational work, the leader told HT. The appointment of the new state NCP chief is likely to be announced after the expansion of the state cabinet on December 30.

When HT spoke to Shinde about his future role as state party chief, he dismissed the report and said he was not aware of the development.

“I am hearing about this [his elevation as state party chief] since morning. But as of now, I do not have any official message from our senior party functionaries,” Shinde said on Friday.

He, however, added that he was willing to accept any responsibility that would be given to him by Pawar.

Shinde is a Maratha leader and a two-time Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Koregaon in Satara district. He is also a leader of Mathadi workers (head loaders), who have a strong union in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai wholesale markets.

Shinde had played a key role in the election campaign and management during the by-election in Satara Lok Sabha constituency, which was held along with the Assembly elections.

The constituency went for by-election after the then NCP Member of Parliament (MP), Udayanraje Bhonsle, had resigned and defected to BJP after the Lok Sabha elections in May. He contested the bypoll on a BJP ticket against Nationalist Congress Party’s former MP, Shrinivas Patil.

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