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Exodus of leaders continues from Congress, NCP

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Navi Mumbai’s powerful Naik family tipped to join BJP

Senior leader of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and former Maharashtra minister Ganesh Naik is all set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), adding to the growing list of leaders quitting the opposition and joining one of the two ruling coalition parties in the State.

In a related development Kalidas Kolambkar, Congress MLA from Wadala constituency in Mumbai, also resigned from the party on Monday and is likely to join the Shiv Sena.

NCP corporators from the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) held a meeting at the mayor’s bungalow on Monday and, according to sources, unanimously decided to join the BJP to bring development to Navi Mumbai.

“All corporators agreed that it is important to be on the government’s side if you want to bring development in the region. They will be meeting Ganesh Naik on Tuesday to pursue him to join the BJP,” said an NCP leader from Navi Mumbai.

Mr. Naik’s younger son Sandip is an MLA from Airoli and he along with his brother and former Thane MP Sanjiv Naik are likely to join the BJP. Sandip Naik on Sunday had rejected reports about his family joining the BJP and said that he will remain with the NCP.

According to sources within the NCP, the Naik family is trying to create an impression that they are being forced to quit the NCP to join the BJP. “There have been attempts by the Naiks to quit NCP even in the past, but it was Sharad Pawar who stopped them then. Now, they want to create a scenario where they are being pressurised by party workers to join the BJP,” said a senior NCP leader.

The Naik family single-handedly controls the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation and their defection would also mean that the entire civic body will be under direct control of the BJP. Ganesh Naik, known for his muscle and money power, lost the 2014 Assembly election from Belapur to BJP’s Manda Mhatre. Interestingly, Ms. Mhatre too had joined the BJP, days before the elections, after quitting the NCP.

Open defiance

After campaigning for the Shiv Sena candidate in the recent Lok Sabha polls, Mr. Kolambkar officially quit the Congress on Monday. He had put up banners thanking Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for solving the issues plaguing his constituency. Mumbai Congress working president Eknath Gaikwad was unavailable to comment on today’s development.

A former Sena leader, Mr. Kolambkar had earlier quit the party along with former Chief Minister Narayan Rane to join the Congress. With Mr. Rane again quitting the Congress to form his own party, Mr. Kolambkar’s exit from the Congress was on the cards.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 11:23:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/exodus-of-leaders-continues-from-congress-ncp/article28752875.ece

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