Ahead of Maharashtra polls, leaders make a beeline to join BJP

Shiv Sena, Devendra Fadnavis, BJP, Shiv Sena, chief minister
Devendra Fadnavis said the BJP is running relief operations across the state and providing all necessary help, including cooked food and ration, to the needy in this time of crisis. Photo: PTI

Just as the ‘nataka’ in Karnataka is wrapping up, a similar trend is being seen in other parts of the country, especially in the poll-bound state of Maharashtra, where prominent political leaders are quitting their parties to join the BJP.

Ahead of the Assembly elections in October, two leaders of Sharad Pawar’s NCP have resigned from the party in the span of a week. While NCP’s Maharashtra head, Sachin Ahir joined Shiv Sena on July 25, the party’s women wing state president Chitra Wagh, put in her papers a day later. It is being speculated that she may join the BJP. There are emerging reports that NCP MLAs Vibhav Pichad and Jyoti Kalani and Congress legislator and former minister Kalidas Kolambkar will join the saffron party very soon. BJP minister Girish Mahajan on Sunday said that at least 50 MLAs of the Congress and NCP are in touch with the BJP to switch over.

Rattled by the desertions, NCP chief Pawar earlier on Sunday, had accused the Modi government of misusing its powers and poaching leaders of other parties. He also alleged that they were misusing the central probe agencies to threaten the government. He alleged that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his cabinet were behind the resignations.

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In response to this accusation, CM Fadnavis asked the NCP chief to introspect what went wrong internally.

The situation is not different in the rest of the country. Ahead of the Assembly polls in October this year, senior INDL (Indian National Lok Dal) leader Gopichand Gahlot joined the BJP on July 13. In West Bengal, which goes to Assembly polls in 2021, following an exodus of almost 50 Trinamool Congress councillors and two MLAs – Subhranshu Roy and Manirul Islam – to the BJP camp (some of the councillors returned to the party fold later), senior BJP Leader Mukul Roy claimed that 107 MLAs from the Trinamool Congress will move to the BJP very soon.

Similarly, on July 10, as many as 10 Goa Congress MLAs broke away from their party and shifted to the BJP, bolstering the ruling party’s strength in the Assembly ahead of the 2022 polls.

With just two months left for the Maharashtra polls, more developments are awaited this week as the newly appointed state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said they are expecting more inductions into the BJP.

Also Read: ‘BJP, Sena to fight Maharashtra Assembly polls in 135 seats each’