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Four Opposition MLAs resign from Maharashtra Assembly, to join BJP tomorrow

NCP MLAs Vaibhav Pichad, Sandip Naik, Shivendra Raje and Congress MLA Kalidas Kolambkar are set to be formally inducted into the BJP tomorrow. Last week, NCP’s Mumbai unit chief Sachin Ahir had quit from the party and joined the Shiv Sena and the party’s women wing president, Chitra Wagh, had also left.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 30, 2019 2:00:38 pm
‘Reports of Congress-NCP merger baseless’: NCP Congress chief Rahul Gandhi with NCP chief Sharad Pawar at the latter’s residence in New Delhi. (file photo/Express photo by Anil Sharma)

Opposition parties in Maharashtra suffered another blow Tuesday, with three NCP MLAs and a Congress MLA handing their resignations to Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde.

NCP MLAs Vaibhav Pichad, Sandip Naik, Shivendra Raje and Congress MLA Kalidas Kolambkar are set to be formally inducted into the BJP tomorrow.

Last week, NCP’s Mumbai unit chief Sachin Ahir had quit the party and joined the Shiv Sena. The party’s women wing president, Chitra Wagh, had also left and she is likely to join the BJP. 

The string of desertions forced Opposition leaders into a huddle on Monday. Opposition leaders like NCP’s Maharashtra president Jayant Patil, MNS chief Raj Thackeray and farmer leader Raju Shetti held deliberations in Mumbai.

EXPLAINED | Why Sharad Pawar’s NCP is falling apart in Maharashtra ahead of polls

In the weekend, senior BJP leader and Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan claimed that at least 50 Congress and NCP MLAs were in touch with the BJP to switch over ahead of the assembly elections.

“Some 50 MLAs of Congress and NCP are in touch with the BJP. Senior NCP leader Chitra Wagh had expressed her desire to join BJP a month back, claiming she had no future left in her parent party. The MLAs are requesting that they wanted to join the BJP ahead of the assembly elections…The Congress is in the shambles and in the next couple of weeks, the NCP will look weaker,” Mahajan said.

The same day, NCP chief and former Union minister Sharad Pawar accused the BJP government of misusing investigating agencies to coerce leaders from opposition parties to join the saffron party.

“Misuse of power is rife in the entire country by the BJP government. We have recently seen what happened in Karnataka. They are also trying to do the same in Madhya Pradesh. In poll-bound states like Maharashtra, they are trying to coerce leaders from opposition parties to join them by using state agencies. I haven’t seen such blatant use of state machinery by any government. The misuse is of extreme level,” Pawar said at a press conference in Pune.

Reacting to Pawar’s allegations, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday called it baseless. “It is high time Pawar does some introspection to find why the exodus is taking place from his organisation. Why the NCP has failed to keep its own house in order and inculcate confidence in its leaders and workers?” Fadnavis told reporters in Mumbai.

The chief minister said the BJP was on a strong footing and did not need to indulge in any poaching of outsiders.

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