MUMBAI: At least half a dozen opposition leaders are likely to join the BJP in presence of party’s national president and Union home minister Amit Shah at Solapur on Sunday, party sources have said.
Shah is scheduled to address the concluding rally of CM Devendra Fadnavis’ ‘Maha Janadesh Yatra’ on Sunday evening at Solapur. Several opposition leaders like the close associate of NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and former minister Padmasingh Patil, his son former Osmanabad MP Rana Jagjeet Singh Patil, former NCP MP from Kolhapur Dhananjay Mahadik, former Chief Minister Narayan Rane and his two sons are expected to formally join the BJP at the event, party sources have said.
Apart from these leaders, speculations are rife over the possibility of Chairman of state legislature Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, NCP MP from Satara Udayanreje Bhosale, former minister Harshawardhan Patil and Solapur MLA Siddharam Mehetre too joining the BJP.
While Patil father-son duo from Osmanabad as well as Bhosale and Nimbalkar in Satara had skipped the NCP’s ‘ShivaSwarajya Yatra’ recently, Rane has announced that he would be merging his ‘Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha’ in the BJP.
While Padmasingh Patil is expected to address a rally of his supporters at Osmanabad on Saturday before formally joining the BJP on Sunday, in a message released on social media on Thursday announcing this, he stated, “In the changing political atmosphere for the Krishna-Marathwada irrigation project and projects in Kedgaon Industrial township it has become necessary to make certain decisions.”
State BJP general secretary Sujitsinh Thakur confirmed that Patils would be joining the party.
Former Kolhapur MP Dhananjay Mahadik too confirmed that he would be joining the BJP while stating that he would make his stand clear in a press conference later.
While the BJP would be inducting so many opposition leaders, former ministers and NCP MLAs Bhaskar Jadhav and Avadhut Tatkare have said that they would be joining the Shiv Sena.
It has now become clear that the party hoppers have hit the NCP more than the Congress. While around a dozen of NCP leaders including MLAs have already switched over to either the BJP or the Shiv Sena, the Congress has lost only three of its MLAs to the BJP as yet.
Former NCP MLC Niranjan Dawkhare switched over to the BJP before Lok Sabha polls, while after the polls former minister Jayadutt Kshirsagar, Dhanraj Mahale, Shekhar Gore, Mumbai NCP Chief Sachin Ahir, MLA Dilip Sopal and Narendra Patil have joined the Shiv Sena. MLAs Shivendraraje Bhosale, Sandeep Naik, Vaibhav Pichad, former minister Madhukar Paichad and state party’s women’s cell head Chitra Wagh have joined the BJP.
Former state NCP chief Bhaskar Jadhav recently met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to prepare for his return to the original party fold. Another former NCP state Chief Sunil Tatkare too met Thackeray while indicating the change of track.
Compared these many leaders the Congress has lost the only leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and MLA Kalidas Kolambakar to the BJP and another MLA Nirmala Gavit to the Shiv Sena.
Both the NCP and the Congress have said that the leaders who were not confident of their reelection have left the party.