Marathi actor Amol Kolhe, who attained popularity for his portrayal of Chhatrapati Shivaji in a TV serial, on Wednesday joined the Shiv Sena.
He joined the Shiv Sena in the presence of party chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Kolhe had earlier been in touch with Thackeray’s bete-noire, his estranged cousin Raj Thackeray who leads the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). The Shiv Sena has been hit by several high-profile defections in recent weeks.
Kolhe, a doctor by profession, has acted in several TV serials like “Rajmata Jijau”, “Olakh” and “Raja Shiv Chhatrapati”.
Lashing out at the MNS and Raj Thackeray, he said: “I never approached anybody. They approached me. They even offered me a Lok Sabha nomination, but I had no faith in that party’s leadership.”
The MNS was planning to name Kolhe for the Shirur Lok Sabha seat, but at the last minute changed its plan and gave the ticket to Ashok Khandebarad.
“I feel happy supporting a party (Shiv Sena) which will show the way in Maharashtra instead of some other party (MNS) which is destroying it,” Kolhe said.
The timing could not have been more appropriate as the Shiv Sena Wednesday celebrated the “Chhatrapati Shivaji Jayanti”.
The party was founded by late Bal Thackeray based on the warrior king’s ideals.
Asked about the recent defections, Uddhav Thackeray said these were too insignificant to matter for the party.