Mumbai: NCP returns 'poached' councillors to Shiv Sena
Uddhav's hard-line stance works; move may ease tensions between parties
Taking a tough stance, the Shiv Sena managed to bring the five municipal councillors from Parner (Ahmednagar) back in its fold from ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) which had poached them earlier this week.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had sent a stern warning through his personal secretary and party secretary Milind Narvekar to the NCP, to avoid political moves that would anger him and upset the equations within the Maha Vikas Aghadi.
The episode has also revealed that some Sena leaders were cautioned about the local rebellion, but they did not inform the party chief or made efforts to pacify the rebels. A section in the Sena also wondered why no Sena minister or senior leader confronted the NCP leadership for poaching their elected representatives. The defection, along with other disagreements, had escalated tensions and NCP boss Sharad Pawar had to visit Thackeray to placate the Sena leadership.
Thackeray had asked Narvekar, an emissary who enjoys a good rapport with all parties and the estranged state governor, to negotiate the 'ghar wapsi'.
Narvekar took his boss's message to deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who was told to return the councillors without any conditions. Ajit's side of the story was that the Sena representatives were unhappy with the local leadership and wanted to join the BJP unless the NCP accommodated them.
On Wednesday, the councillors Nandkumar Deshmukh, Nanda Deshpmane, Vaishali Auti, Dr Sayyed and Kisan Gandhade were officially transferred to Narvekar by Ajit at a meeting in Mumbai. Later, Narvekar took the councillors to Thackeray's Kalanagar residence where the party chief re-inducted them into the Sena.
Sources said the Sena councillors' defection could have been avoided by the organisation's leaders in-charge because sampark pramukh Bhau Korgaonkar had intimated about the possibility.
"A particular leader was told specifically that the councillors would defect if their grievances against the local leaders were not addressed immediately. Neither Uddhav nor other senior leaders were given the message," said a Sena leader.
On the other hand, the NCP has also complained about an unholy alliance — created after the Parner poaching — between the BJP and Sena in the Kalyan panchayat samiti, where they kept the Congress and NCP out of power. It would be interesting to see what the Sena does to break it.
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