Hours after he resigned as the Satara MP, former NCP leader Udayanraje Bhosale, a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji, on Saturday, joined the BJP in the presence of party president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Bhosale joined the BJP at Shah’s residence in Delhi, where Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, BJP state chief Chandrakant Patil and Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan were also present.
“In NCP, I was feeling suffocated. I couldn’t get any work done… the Chief Minister and I are old friends. Through him, I have been able to get several development works implemented. It is advantageous to have governments of the same party at the Centre and in the state,” Bhosale said.
Earlier, Bhosale had insisted that he would join the BJP only in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders in Delhi. He had also demanded that the bypoll for Satara Lok Sabha seat be held along with the forthcoming Assembly polls.
He said, if he lost in the by-poll, he should be accommodated in the Rajya Sabha, BJP sources said. “Though the Prime Minister was not present due to his busy schedule, BJP chief Amit Shah held the event at his residence. Udayanraje wanted the event to be held in Delhi. This shows how much importance the BJP attaches to him. The NCP never cared for him,” his associates Milind Gaikwad and Jeetendra Khanvilkar said.
Fadnavis had accompanied Bhosale to Delhi in a chartered plane. Around 1 am on Saturday, the MP had submitted his resignation to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla. Addressing the media, Fadnavis said Bhosale had resigned barely four months after he was elected. “We expect a bypoll to take place in Satara Lok Sabha along with state Assembly elections… Udayanraje will win by a record margin,” he said.
Hailing his entry into the party, Shah said, “BJP and Jana Sangh have always followed the ideology of Chhatrapati Shivaji… and it is great that one of his family members has joined the party.”
Claiming that the leadership of Modi and Shah had inspired him, Bhosale said, “I am happy to see that the BJP is following the path of Shivaji Maharaj to strengthen the country.”
In the Lok Sabha election held earlier this year, Bhosale had won by a margin of around 1,30,000 votes, much lower than his winning margin of around 3,66,000 votes in the 2014 parliamentary polls. Jolted by the slide in his victory margin, which came as a major embarrassment for him, Bhosale had raised doubts about the functioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs). Immediately after the Lok Sabha elections, he had offered to resign and seek re-election through ballot boxes. On Saturday, he said, “The reduction in my victory margin was a moral defeat for me… This is what happens in NCP. They block you and make you suffer.”