MUMBAI: In a unique feature, apart from seat-sharing agreement, the BJP and the Shiv Sena have even loaned candidates from each other to be fielded in this Lok Sabha election.
Shiv Sena on Tuesday induected BJP's seating MP from Palghar Rajendra Gavit to its fold, to be declared as party's official candidate from the same seat. Earlier, on Sunday Thackeray had inducted Mathadi leader Narendra Patil to the party fold during mega rally at Kolhapur and nominated him as the party candidate from Satara.
"I had requested Fadnavis to loan this leader for Satara seat," Thackeray had mentioned while inducting Patil.
However, while announcing Gavit's candidature from Palghar today, Thackeray termed the induction as a ‘partner exchange’.
The Shiv Sena had insisted for the seat during seat-sharing negotiations with the BJP. But, couldn't find a better candidate that Gavit, said a party insider. Thackeray too mentioned his promise to Shrinivas - the son of former BJP MP from the seat Chintaman Vanga - that he would be fielded from the seat and added that the party would send Shrinivas to the state legislature first.
Gavit, who switched his loyalties from Congress to the BJP to win the Palghar bypoll last year, joined Shiv Sena today. Thackeray said that Gavit has worked in the constituency in the past 8-9 months and therefore, instead of giving the ticket to somebody else, he found it appropriate to induct him into the Sena and field him from Palghar.
But, its not only Shiv Sena that has done so. In Nanded, the BJP has fielded Prakash Patil Chikhlikar, a Shiv Sena MLA, against state Congress chief Ashok Chavan.
While adding to it, Thackeray today said that loaning leaders to the alliance partner is not new.
“Earlier our leaders like Dr Subhash Bhamre and Suresh Prabhu have gone to the BJP to become MPs and then even ministers,” the Sena chief while defending the uncommon switchovers.