MUMBAI: Apart from the leaders of the Congress and the NCP who have joined the BJP and the Shiv Sena recently, representatives of even smaller parties are now crossing over to the ruling parties ahead of the Maharashtra assembly polls.
On Sunday, MLA Vilas Tare of the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), who represents Boisar assembly segment near Mumbai, joined the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
In a development that could raise hackles of the NCP, former minister and heavyweight leader from Konkan region, Bhaskar Jadhav, is rumoured to be on his way to join the Sena.
The speculation gained ground after Jadhav, a former Shiv Sainik and sitting MLA from Guhagar constituency in Ratnagiri district, visited Thackeray's residence 'Matoshree' in Bandra and held a closed door meeting, said a Sena official. Jadhav called on Thackeray once again within hours.
However, Jadhav said, "These are just rumours. I will remain with the NCP".
Jadhav had joined the NCP in mid-2000. He later became a minister in the Congress-led UPA government in Maharashtra.
"Jadhav may join the Sena in the coming days. You need to watch developments in the coming days," said the official.
No one from Jadhav's close aides confirmed the agenda behind his meeting with Thackeray.
Jadhav had served as a state unit president of the NCP.
Earlier, when asked about Tare's decision to join the Sena, Thackeray said, "This is due to growing popularity of the Sena. We have not set up any target but people are returning to the party because they appreciate our performance in the last five years."
Tare said he joined the Sena considering the "interest of voters".
"I had started my political career as a Shiv Sena worker. My close aides and supporters convinced me to return to Sena keeping the voters' interest in mind. I have not left Aghadi (UPA) because I was disappointed with someone.