Six corporators of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena on Friday joined the Shiv Sena, reported The Times of India. With this, the Shiv Sena now has 90 corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation while the Raj Thackeray-led MNS is down to one.
The defections have also given a boost to the Shiv Sena as it now has eight more corporators than the Bharatiya Janata Party in India’s richest civic body. Relations between the Sena and the BJP, which are in alliance at the Centre and in Maharashtra, have deteriorated in the recent past. “The BJP must have realised our strength now after seeing what can we do in one day,” said Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, according to PTI.
MNS corporators Dilip Lande, Archana Bhalerao, Snehal More, Datta Narvankar, Parashuram Kadam and Ashwini Matekar joined the Shiv Sena. “We joined the Sena for the welfare of the Marathi people,” said Dilip Lande, adding that the BJP wanted to remove the Marathi mayor from the post.
Party chief Thackeray, who was present on the occasion, termed the defections as homecoming. “Poaching took place in Arunachal Pradesh and Goa. Today, it was only ghar wapsi,” he said, referring to the fact that the MNS is an offshoot of the Shiv Sena.
BJP leader Manoj Kotak said the defections were a “betrayal of voters.” He said, “This is not just horse-trading, but a betrayal of promise made to the Mumbaikars. We have demanded that Konkan Commissioner, Police Commissioner and the Anti- Corruption Bureau to investigate the matter and initiate action against the mastermind of this episode.”