Will Ganesh Naik be the next Pawar-ful shock?

Updated: Jul 30, 2019, 08:00 IST | Dharmendra Jore

Navi Mumbai NCP corporators want the leader and his sons to join BJP ahead of the Assembly elections

Will Ganesh Naik be the next Pawar-ful shock?
NCP leader and former Belapur MLA Ganesh Naik

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is in for yet another shock as 52 NCP members of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation met at the Mayor's home on Monday. "We want our leader Ganeshji Naik in Mantralaya so that our city can be developed further. We want him to make a decision that we all will follow," Navi Mumbai NCP chief and local corporator Anant Sutar told mid-day.

Sources said that the principal ruling party, BJP, is the first choice for defectors as it would help the Naik family regain control of Thane district and also give BJP a strong leadership in a region dominated by Shiv Sena. Naik's elder son Sanjeev had been Thane's MP and younger son Sandeep is a sitting MLA from Airoli. Naik himself represented Belapur (Navi Mumbai) till 2014 before losing the election to former party colleague Manda Mhatre. Before joining NCP, Naik was with the Sena and served as a minister in the erstwhile BJP-Sena government.

Of late, Naik has not been very active in the NCP despite winning the party a majority in the Navi Mumbai civic body against the Sena and BJP in 2015. NMMC elections are scheduled for next year. The Lok Sabha results and subsequent surveys predict the BJP's comeback in the state government and if Naik enters the BJP, the party will gain control across Thane and Palghar districts which together send 24 MLAs to the Assembly. Ganesh Naik and son Sandeep could not be reached for comment.

NCP's Satara MLA to join BJP

BJP's expansion plan for western Maharashtra seems to be falling in place as NCP's Satara MLA Shivendraraje Bhosale is reported to have decided to join the ruling party. A meeting was held in Satara on Monday in which Bhosale's supporters raised slogans to hail the BJP. Among the descendants of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, he is expected to be followed by some NCP and Congress legislators in the same district. Bhosale's elder brother Udayanraje is NCP's MP, but the two share a strained relationship. Reacting to the exodus, NCP's state president Jayant Patil reiterated the allegation that the BJP was misusing power to 'blackmail' NCP legislators.

Cong's Wadala MLA resigns

Wadala MLA Kalidas Kolambkar resigned from the Assembly membership on Monday. He is expected to join the BJP in a day or two.

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