In yet another setback for the BJP, Geeta Jain, former BJP mayor and now independent MLA, is set to join Shiv Sena on Saturday. Jain represents the Mira Bhayander Assembly seat. On Friday, senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse officially joined the NCP.
Sources in Shiv Sena said Jain is likely to join the party on Saturday afternoon in the presence of Chief Minister and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree in Bandra (East).
Jain has been associated with the BJP since 2010, and had served as mayor of the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation from the BJP.
In the 2019 Assembly elections, Jain had contested as an independent candidate from Mira Bhayander assembly constituency. She had rebelled against BJP after being denied a ticket to contest polls. Jain had defeated BJP’s official candidate, Narendra Mehta.
Shortly after her victory, Jain patched up with BJP, and met then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, extending her support to the party, which had emerged as the largest, winning 105 out of 288 seats.
Sena sources said that since the formation of the Shiv Sena-led MVA government, Jain has been in touch with Sena leadership. “She has met the Sena chief multiple times in the past ten months, and her entry into the party had been discussed,” a Sena leader said, adding that Jain’s entry would help the party in strengthening its base in Mira Bhayander.
“… If she joins the party, we will welcome her,” said Pratap Sarnaik, Sena legislator and spokesperson, also in-charge of Mira Bhayander area.
Meanwhile, BJP downplayed Jain’s departure. “Independent MLAs often like to associate themselves with those in power in government,” a senior BJP leader said.
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