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‘I will die but won’t join BJP’

Jitendra-Awhad-leadMinister for Medical Education Jitendra Awhad remains unaffected by the massive exodus of NCP MLA’s into BJP. Since the assembly election is just round the corner, many legislators have joined the saffron party as they are eyeing plum posts. Many of them were unhappy with the functioning of party president Sharad Pawar and hence are joining the opposition party. Awhad nonetheless questioned the intentions of rebel leaders who are only quitting the party for pursuing their selfish interests instead of working for the welfare of masses. He said that ideological differences exist between BJP and NCP and termed the former as communal party. On the other hand, NCP has been known as a secular party and believes in inclusive growth.

When AV spoke to Jitendra Awhad about party workers shifting loyalties, he said, “I will prefer to die but will never ever join BJP. There is a huge ideological difference between both the parties. A person who has remained secular for so many years, all of a sudden changes his ideology to become communal which is not justified.”

“Rebels are joining rival parties in order to pursue their selfish motives. They are least bothered about the welfare of people. I wonder how rival parties can welcome rebels who have suddenly quit the party for the sake of power” added Awhad.

Terming himself as a secular leader Awhad said, “I consider myself as the secular face of Maharashtra. If some bucket of water from sea is thrown away then it will not make much difference to the sea same is the case with NCP too as the party will function smoothly.”

After the drubbing received by NCP in Lok Sabha polls several party leaders have quit to join BJP and Shiv Sena.

Suryakanta Patil, former Union Minister from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), has quit the party. She is expected to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the coming days. Patil was followed by Murbad MLA Kisan Kathore.

While both the Congress and the NCP are facing an exodus of their second-rung leaders, following the drubbing in the elections, the latter has been hit harder. A majority of the NCP leaders have already joined the Shiv Sena, ahead of the coming State Assembly elections. For the first time in its 15 years of existence, the NCP has lost at least a dozen legislators and key local-level leaders to the BJP and Shiv Sena.

BJP’s Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse said more than 30 leaders from the NCP and the Congress are willing to join the saffron party.

Party insiders believe the rising unrest among the second-and lower-rung leaders is owing to Pawar’s nephew and Maharashtra deputy CM Ajit Pawar’s continuous efforts to take control.

The NCP leadership, however, claimed the exodus will not affect the party. “Pawarsaheb has given so much to the party leaders. Leaders quitting the party are doing so out of greed for power,” added Awhad.

Senior NCP leader and former MLA from Sangli Anil Babar recently met Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray and expressed his willingness to join the party. Before the Lok Sabha election, former NCP MLC Sanjay Patil had joined the BJP and won the Sangli seat, defeating then Union minister of state Pratik Patil.

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