Nationalist Congress Party leader Ganesh Naik and his son NCP MLA Sandeep Naik along with 57 other corporators will join BJP. Ganesh Naik is an influential politician who controls Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation from last several years. NCP leader Sagar Naik had called a meeting of 57 corporators at his residence. In that meeting, a decision was taken to join BJP. Thus, many leaders from NCP have quit the party to join BJP. A few days back NCP Mumbai president Sachin Ahir had quit the party to join Shiv Sena. Many leaders quitting NCP to join BJP is seen as a huge setback for the party at a time when Maharashtra will witness assembly polls in October-November.
State NCP president Jayant Patil said, “The exit of the leaders from NCP will have an impact on the party. Many corporators have informed NCP leadership that they won’t quit the party. We will take stock of the situation. Even leaders from BJP are opposing the induction of leaders from opposition parties.“
“Naik going to BJP is a severe jolt to the NCP ahead of the assembly polls in Maharashtra. We feel that NCP should be merged with the parent Congress party to avoid further embarrassment,” said a senior NCP leader Anand Sutar.
The reports of Naik joining BJP have been surfacing since quite some time. Though NCP’s Manda Mhatre joined BJP and won the assembly election, Naik has a hold on Navi Mumbai corporation for nearly two decades. NCP corporators believe that joining BJP will help them to win the next corporation election. Therefore, a sizeable number of corporators including Sandeep Naik are switching over to BJP.
Political journalist Nilesh Khare said, “NCP has lost the control over the entire Navi Mumbai. It had lost control over north Raigad while the southern part is left with NCP due to the presence of Sunil Tatkare. Thus, they have lost a financially strong municipal corporation. The opposition has lost its relevance and no new leadership is emerging within NCP and Congress.”
On Sunday, senior BJP leader and Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan had claimed that atleast 50 MLAs of the Congress and NCP were in touch with the ruling party to switch over ahead of the assembly polls.
BJP MP Gopal Shetty said, “The exit of Ganesh Naik and Sandeep Naik will affect the NCP. India is heading towards ‘One Nation, One Party’ and the NCP and the Congress will cease to exist. The situation will become like after Independence era when only Congress party existed. In the same manner, only BJP will exist in new India.”
Few corporators from Thane and Navi Mumbai municipal corporation had met Sandeep Naik and asked him to join BJP. Four opposition Congress-NCP legislators in Maharashtra resigned from the State Assembly on Tuesday, amid talk of their joining the ruling BJP.
NCP MLAs Shivendrasinhraje Bhosale (Satara), Vaibhav Pichad (Akole) and Sandeep Naik (Airoli) and Congress MLA Kalidas Kolambkar (Naigaon) handed over their resignation letters separately to Speaker Haribhau Bagade at the state legislature building Vidhan Bhawan in south Mumbai.
“I am more interested in protecting the interest of my assembly constituency,” said Bhosale, whose cousin Udayanraje Bhosale is NCP MP from Satara. Vaibhav Pichad hails from Akole tehsil in Ahmednagar district and is the son of former NCP minister Madhukar Pichad.
Vaibhav’s assembly segment adjoins that of Balasaheb Thorat, the new state Congress president. Maharashtra BJP leaders have been harping that the party aims to win at least 220 of the total 288 Assembly seats along with allies. Kolambkar is a seven-term lawmaker from Mumbai, while Shivendrasinhraje Bhosale won the Satara seat in 2014 by 47,813 votes.
The four MLAs are likely to join the BJP on Wednesday, sources said. These would be the latest inductions in the BJP ahead of Maharashtra Assembly polls due in just over two months. Jaydutt Kshirsagar, NCP leader and former Maharashtra Minister, joined the Shiv Sena in May. Even NCP women’s wing president Chitra Wagh had tendered resignation from all posts.