The Nationalist Congress Party suffered a setback on Sunday as Deepak Kesarkar, MLA from Sawantwadi (Konkan region), announced his decision to quit the party and join the Shiv Sena.
The development follows Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s public announcement that Congress and NCP leaders keen to join party are welcome provided they take the decision immediately.
Thackeray’s decision to induct MLAs from the ruling alliance is to consolidate his own organisation in areas where they have a weak base.
Kesarkar, who had raised a banner of revolt against Industries Minister Narayan Rane and worked against his son Nilesh in the Lok Sabha elections, said he had nothing against the NCP bu” “cannot stay on in the party as it has decided to continue its alliance with the Congress for the Assembly electio”s”.
He added” “I have decided to fight against Rane’s highhandedness and politics of terror in Konkan region. I cannot do this by continuing in the NCP. The Congress and NCP are contest the Assembly elections together. So, I have decided to join the Shiv Sena and contest from whichever Assembly seat they give me in Sindhudurg district. I want to work for the development of Konka”.
NCP state president Sunil Tatkare, along with other leaders, made several attempts to prevent Kesarkar from leaving the party but did not succeed.
Talking to the media, Kesarkar said” “I have always fought against the goondaism unleashed by (Narayan) Rane in the Konkan region. In Lok Sabha elections too, I had publicly decided not to work against his son Nilesh who was contesting the polls from Ratnagiri-Sindhudur”.”
Before the Lok Sabha elections, Rane had repeatedly approached NCP chief Sharad Pawar and AICC leaders in Delhi and complained against Kesarkar’s anti-Congress campaign. Rane had said Kesarkar was working for rival Sena candidate Vinayak Raut, who eventually won.
Though the NCP expressed unhappiness over his activities, it did not expel Kesarkar.