In a major embarrassment to the Shiv Sena, its spokesperson Rahul Narvekar on Monday joined the Nationalist Congress Party. He will contest the Lok Sabha polls from Maval in Maharashtra on NCP ticket.

Mr. Narvekar met NCP chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Sunday, after he had withdrawn his candidature for the Legislative Council elections.

“I was told to contest the Council elections by the Sena leadership but I got no support from the party at all. I was treated more like an Independent due to internal politics,” he alleged at a press conference here.

Earlier, security was beefed up near the NCP office after Sena activists protested outside against Mr. Narvekar’s move.

Mr. Narvekar, son-in-law of NCP leader Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar, was fielded as the second candidate from the Sena for the Council elections. Last week, he withdrew his application from the contest after it became clear that he would lose.

The Sena, in its response, said the rebel leader had never approached the party leadership with his grievances. “He never informed Uddhavji of his problems. Then how are we supposed to solve them?” asked party secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai.

Training his guns on the NCP, Mr. Desai alleged that it was importing cadre from the Sena for contesting elections. In the last two months three Sena MPs have quit the party, while another MP left two years ago to join the NCP.