3 MLAs from NCP, 1 from Congress set to join BJP; NCP heavyweight Ganesh Naik may follow suit

3 MLAs from NCP, 1 from Congress set to join BJP; NCP heavyweight Ganesh Naik may follow suit
Vaibhav Pichad (left), Sandeep Naik (centre), Kalidas Kolambkar (right) and Shivendra Singh Raje Bhosale have all submitted their resignations to Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Haribhau Bagade

Three legislators from Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and one from Congress in Maharashtra are set to join the BJP on Wednesday.

NCP leaders Shivendra Singh Raje Bhosale (Satara), Vaibhav Pichad (Akole), and Sandeep Naik (Airoli), along with Kalidas Kolambkar (Wadala) from Congress, will formally join the BJP at a function at Mumbai’s Garware Club House on July 31.

All four have resigned from their party and submitted their resignations from the Assembly to Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Haribhau Bagade.

Along with Sandeep Naik, who is serving as the Mayor of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, 57 corporators from the civic body will also move to the BJP.

With both NCP and Congress losing steam in Maharashtra, speculation is rife that several other senior leaders from the parties are mulling over making a switch.

Last week, Sachin Ahir, the Mumbai unit chief of NCP and former minister, and Chitra Wagh, it’s women wing president, quit the party. Ahir has already joined Shiv Sena.

NCP heavyweight from Navi Mumbai, Ganesh Naik, is touted to join BJP next. Meanwhile, Gopaldas Agarwal, Jaikumar Gole, and Sunil Kedar are other Congress leaders that are pegged to make the switch.

The defections come days after NCP chief Sharad Pawar alleged that the government was using central agencies to pressurise leaders of opposition parties to join the BJP.

“The Chief Minister and his cabinet ministers have been involved in calling many leaders. We are also getting complaints from many that some agencies are being used like ED, CBI, and ACB to threaten the public representatives,” Pawar said.

However, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis refuted the allegations, stating that Pawar should introspect why its members were keen on leaving the party.

“A lot of NCP and Congress legislators are willing to join BJP but we will only induct selected few in the party. The people, against whom ED or any other inquiry is ongoing, will not be taken in the party. We do not want to invite anyone or run behind anyone, people are themselves coming to BJP,” Fadnavis was quoted as saying.

Shiv Sena, a BJP ally in state and centre, also slammed the NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar for his remarks.

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