In a shocking turn of events, saffron party's MP from Kalyan, Anand Paranjpe, stormed into a press conference addressed by Sharad Pawar, to sing his praises as he slammed his own party
With just a few weeks to go for the civic polls, the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance has its hands full, as deserters and mutinous rebels rear their angry heads.
Shiv Sena MP Anand Paranjpe (in white) was greeted by NCP's
Jitendra Awhad at the party's office in Thane
Just days after senior leader Gopinath Munde's brother Panditanna defected from the BJP bastion and moved over to the NCP quarters amidst great fanfare, it's ally Shiv Sena was sent reeling from another heavy blow yesterday.
Anand Paranjpe - its MP from the adjoining Thane district - shared stage with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar at the latter's party office, and launched a diatribe against his own party, claiming that it was no longer the Sena of yore.
In a show of brazen revolt, Paranjpe unleashed a tirade against Sena Executive Chief Uddhav Thackeray, saying, "The Sena that Bal Thackeray wanted no longer exists. Loyal Shiv Sainiks are being sidelined."
He reminisced about how Shiv Sena loyalists were once made to feel part of a great family, where everyone shared their tribulations and celebrated achievements together. Lamenting that those days are lost and gone, he indicted the present leadership for having blind-sided developmental issues in its lust for power.
"I came to meet Pawar to discuss development issues related to Thane and its adjoining areas," he said.
Alleging that the local Sena leadership in Thane had opposed minorities and Urdu schools, Paranjpe said, "Those who have kicked the saffron flag in the past are being welcomed in that party today."
Insiders said that no matter how willing, Paranjpe will stop short of abandoning the Sena ship for the NCP shores, as this could disqualify him from his Lok Sabha seat, for violation of the anti-defection laws.
Welcoming him, Pawar said, "Paranjpe had come to us to seek our cooperation on developmental issues."
Paranjpe's decision to re-align himself with the NCP can demoralise the Sena's Thane unit, weeks ahead of elections to the Thane and Ulhasnagar municipal corporations.
The NCP has been aggressively making inroads into the district, having speedily increased its presence in the region.
Meanwhile, in course of the function to induct Panditanna into the NCP, Ajit Pawar said that the erstwhile BJP loyalist had met him a year ago, expressing his desire to join NCP. "I had advised him to exercise restraint and reconsider his decision."