MUMBAI: With the announcement of Assembly polls imminent, three senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders on Monday said that they are leaving the party while Prakash Ambedkar of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) made it clear that he will not join the Congress alliance.
Though the defections of former Maharashtra ministers Bhaskar Jadhav, the heavyweight leader from Konkan region and Ganesh Naik, was long expected, it has come as a setback for the NCP. While Jadhav said he would be joining Sena along with a dozen Zilla Parishad members and 75 Sarpanchs on September 13, Naik will be switching to BJP with 55 corporators of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation. This will end NCP control of the lone corporation and add to the 17 corporations under BJP’s control.
The state has 27 Municipal Corporations of which Shiv Sena controls three. “I had a meeting with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and he made an offer to me to join the party. I also had a meeting with NCP Chief Sharad Pawar. I’ve handed over my grievances to him in writing,” Jadhav said. NCP MLA Avadhut Tatkare, the nephew of former state chief Sunil Tatkare, also announced his decision to join the Sena.
State BJP’s chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, “Several leaders are in touch with us. They will be joining the BJP in the near future.” So far, at least 20 opposition leaders have left other parties to join BJP and Shiv Sena.Meanwhile, VBA chief Ambedkar said the first list of VBA candidates will be declared soon after the Ganesh Festival ends. He said the alliance pact with AIMIM was finalised, despite the latter’s criticism over the offer of just 8 seats as the Congress failed to respond to his proposals.
`2,100 crore boost to state’s agro-business
The Maharashtra state cabinet cleared an ambitious World Bank-funded `2,100 crore agriculture project along with 35 proposals that include permission for ` 3,122 crore worth tenders for water grid project in Latur and Osmanabad districts, setting up of 16 dedicated courts for business disputes, waiving of private money lenders’ loans taken by farmers, setting up of training institute for government teachers, salary hike for engineering and medical college faculties.