Mumbai : Sharad Pawar led Nationalist Congress Party suffered another major setback ahead of the state elections, when its senior leader and the former Maharashtra minister Ganesh Naik joined the ruling BJP along with over 50 corporators of Navi Mumbai on Wednesday.
Naik has a seizable clout in Navi Mumbai and his group dominates the Navi Municipal Corporation. Naik, his son – former Lok Sabha member Sanjeev – and the 50-odd corporators of the Navi Municipal Corporation formally joined the saffron party in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at Vashi near Mumbai.
Ganesh Naik, who cut his teeth into politics with a stint in the Shiv Sena, joined the NCP 1999 – the year the party was established – following differences with late Bal Thackeray. An Agri community leader, Naik had contested the 2014 Assembly polls from Belapur, but lost to BJP’s Manda Mhatre. His younger son Sandip joined the BJP on July 31 this year, leading to speculation about him also deserting the NCP.
Naik’s entry into the BJP now paves the way for the ruling party to control the NMMC.