Political leaders are eyeing plum posts and shift loyalties to join opposition parties ahead of assembly polls.
Several party leaders from NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress have quit to join rival parties after they were being sidelined by their own party. Many of them were unhappy with senior leaders for denying ticket and sidelining them. Often it has been observed that party members switch loyalties before election. Thus this time too several party members have turned rebel and joined rival parties. Many of them are joining opposition parties as they may be offered tickets and plum posts. Deepak Mankar is likely to quit Congress to join NCP in Pune. He had a conversation with Ajit Pawar. Former Congress MLA Prashant Thakur resigned from Maharashtra assembly to join BJP. He filed his nomination from Panvel. Many leaders filed nominations for the assembly polls. Shubha Raul Shiv Sena Corporator from Dahisar has already started campaigning through social media. According to sources she is likely to contest the assembly polls as an independent candidate if denied a ticket. Shiv Sena MLC Kishanchand Tanwani joined BJP.
Suryakanta Patil, former Union Minister from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), had quit the party following its debacle in Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha polls to join BJP.
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.
More than a dozen leaders, including an MLA, former Minister, and district presidents have quit the NCP. Most of them were unhappy with the functioning of the party leadership.
“Some leaders do not care about party chief Sharad Pawar. Several decisions are taken without consulting with him,” Ms. Patil alleged while quitting the party. She also suggested that the NCP merge with the Congress.
In yet another setback for the NCP, controversial legislator Deepak Kesarkar quit the party and joined Shiv Sena. Elected to the legislative assembly from Sawantwadi in 2009, Kesarkar was at loggerheads with both NCP president Sharad Pawar and industries minister Narayan Rane. Kesarkar is the latest among more than a dozen high-profile leaders to have quit the NCP in recent times.
Kesarkar had strongly opposed the NCP ally’s ticket for Rane’s son Nilesh for the Lok Sabha polls from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg.
“All along I fought against politicians involved in criminal activities. Specific facts were brought to the notice of both Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar, but they never stood by me, maybe owing to political compulsions. Under such circumstances, I was left with no option, but to quit. In a day or two, I will join the Shiv Sena,” Kesarkar.
The NCP received another setback when its minister in the state Sanjay Savkare and MLA Kisan Kathore joined the BJP.
“I have contested assembly two times. Now, the new leadership is emerging in the party and they should also get a chance, so I am resigning from NCP and clearing the way” Kathore said.
“I decided to quit NCP because of local issues in my constituency. My supporters were angry over certain things and wanted me to join BJP. I was also noticing that another NCP leader in my region was being promoted by the party leadership and I was being marginalised,” Savkare said.
Five-time Sena MP Mohan Rawale joined Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party. Mr Rawale, who was expelled last December from the Shiv Sena for alleged anti-party activities, said, “I met honorable Sharad Pawar. I am going to Mumbai with him. I am going to them unconditionally.”
Maharashtra Congress leader, former Wardha member of Parliament and education baron Datta Meghe had quit the party to join BJP.