Desertion by Opposition MLAs in Maharashtra continues as 4 Congress and NCP legislators resign, likely to join BJP tomorrow

Major Opposition parties in Maharashtra — the Congress and NCP — faced a setback as another round of resignations hit the parties on Tuesday. At least four MLAs resigned from the state Assembly and are likely to join the BJP on Wednesday, reports said.

The resignations of NCP MLAs Shivendrasinhraje Bhosale from Satara, Vaibhav Pichad from Akole, Sandeep Naik from Airoli and Congress MLA Kalidas Kolambkar from Naigaon come on the heels of Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar's accusation that the BJP is pressuring leaders of Opposition parties to join the party ahead of the Assembly election in the state.

The four handed over their resignation letters separately to Speaker Haribhau Bagade at the state legislature building, Vidhan Bhawan, in South Mumbai.

 Desertion by Opposition MLAs in Maharashtra continues as 4 Congress and NCP legislators resign, likely to join BJP tomorrow

File image of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. PTI

Vaibhav Pichad hails from Akole tehsil in Ahmednagar district and is the son of former NCP minister Madhukar Pichad. Vaibhav's Assembly segment adjoins that of Balasaheb Thorat, the new state Congress president. Kolambkar is a seven-term lawmaker from Mumbai, while Shivendrasinhraje Bhosale won the Satara seat in 2014 by 47,813 votes.

The four MLAs are likely to join the BJP on Wednesday, PTI quoted sources as saying. These would be the latest inductions in the BJP ahead of Maharashtra Assembly polls due in just over two months. Maharashtra BJP leaders have also been asserting that the party aims to win at least 220 of the total 288 Assembly seats along with allies.

NCP's Mumbai unit chief Sachin Ahir recently quit the party to join the Shiv Sena, while Jaydutt Kshirsagar, NCP leader and former Maharashtra minister, joined the Shiv Sena in May. Chitra Wagh, the NCP's women's wing president, was reportedly also likely to join the BJP.

Several Opposition leaders on Monday attended a meeting to deliberate the successive defections. Reports said that the NCP’s Maharashtra president Jayant Patil, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, and others met in Mumbai.

Maharashtra water resources minister Girish Mahajan was quoted by The Indian Express as saying that at least 50 MLAs of the Congress and NCP were in touch with the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections.

According to the report, he said, “Some 50 MLAs of Congress and NCP are in touch with the BJP. Wagh had expressed her desire to join BJP a month ago, 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."

Updated Date: Jul 30, 2019 14:32:53 IST