The Congress has received a severe jolt ahead of assembly election as seven of its corporators from Thane Municipal Corporation including group leader has switched loyalties to join Shiv Sena. To make matters worse, Narayan Rane had quit from the post of Industries minister but he will continue to remain with the party. Rane had taken this decision as he was unhappy with the functioning of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. He was in favour of change in leadership taking into consideration the assembly polls. The party high command was reluctant to remove Chavan as the decision might prove counterproductive before election.
When Afternoon Voice spoke to rebel corporators from Thane they held Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan responsible for the party’s lackluster performance in the Lok Sabha election. Ravindra Pathak, his wife Jayashree Pathak, corporators Deepak Vetkar, Rajesh Gavari, Kanchan Chindarkar, Manpreet Kaur and Minal Sankhey joined Shiv Sena.
Ravindra Pathak, Thane Congress spokesperson a renowned face in Thane and also is the crowd puller for the party.
Talking to AV, Congress spokesperson and Corporator Ravindra Pathak said, “I have been sidelined by the Congress party. Whenever, I tried to contact Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan he refused to give me an appointment. We have contributed a lot for the Congress party’s development but the party has betrayed us.”
Ravindra’s wife Jayshree Pathak said, “We had remained loyal with Congress but the party has ill-treated us. Prithviraj Chavan neglected us hence we decided to join Shiv Sena.”
Phatak, considered to be a trusted lieutenant of Rane, said he felt “marginalized” in the Congress. “I joined Congress along with Rane but injustice has been meted against me and others,” he said.
Thus the Shiv Sena has become stronger as its strength in the corporation is now 60.
Rebel Congress corporator Dipak Vetkar said,“I am pleased to join Shiv Sena and will work for strengthening the party. We were getting a raw deal by remaining with the party and hence we have joined Sena.”
Another rebel Congress Corporator Rajesh Gavari said, “We were fed up with the Congress’s leadership’s style of functioning and hence quit the party. Shiv Sena has a strong presence in Thane region.”
As per reports, Rane had quit the cabinet because he was upset with the party for not offering Chief Minister’s post. Speculations are rife that Rane is likely to join BJP or MNS.
Many corporators are in contact with Shiv Sena leaders and they too can might quit the party to join Sena which will turn out to be a major setback for the party ahead of assembly polls.
Deepak Keserkar, heavyweight NCP MLA from Sawantwadi constituency had quit the party to join Shiv Sena. One more NCP OBC leader Kishor Kanhere joined Shiv Sena few days back. Thus the Shiv Sena is trying to strengthen itself before assembly polls.