Three Nationalist Congress Party MLAs in Maharashtra resigned from the Assembly on Tuesday, PTI reported. They handed over their resignation letters to Speaker along with Congress MLA Kalidas Kolambkar, who had announced his resignation on Monday. They are likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday.
Nationalist Congress Party MLAs Shivendrasinh Bhosale, Vaibhav Pichad and Sandip Naik, and Kolambkar handed over their resignation letters separately to Speaker Haribhau Bagade at the state legislature building in South Mumbai.
Bhosale won the Satara seat in 2014 by 47,813 votes. “I am more interested in protecting the interest of my Assembly constituency,” he said. His cousin Udayanraje Bhosale is Nationalist Congress Party MP from Satara. Pichad belongs to Akole tehsil in Ahmednagar district and is the son of former Nationalist Congress Party minister Madhukar Pichad. His Assembly segment adjoins that of Balasaheb Thorat, the new state Congress president.
Kolambkar represented Wadala in South Central Mumbai, and is one of the longest serving state legislators.
The Assembly elections in Maharashtra are due later this year. A number of leaders from the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party have joined the BJP and its ally Shiv Sena in recent days.
On Saturday, Pichad announced he was joining the BJP. Two days before that, the party’s Mumbai unit chief Sachin Ahir had joined the Shiv Sena. Chitra Wagah, who is the NCP’s women wing chief, also quit the party.
Following the exodus, Sharad Pawar accused the BJP of misusing its power to poach leaders from rival parties. “After BJP returned to power at the Centre, some people [in Opposition] are feeling anxious,” Pawar said on Saturday. “On the other hand, those in government are misusing power and poaching leaders from other parties.”
The Shiv Sena claimed that if allegations of poaching were true, Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar would be the first to join the saffron party. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party said it does not arm-twist political leaders into joining them but “wins hearts” instead.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis responded to Pawar’s accusations by asking him introspect why his party leaders were deserting the party. Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan on Sunday claimed some 50 Congress and Nationalist Congress Party MLAs were in touch with the BJP and wanted to switch sides.