Top Cong, NCP leaders join BJP

Both Naik and Patil have been in touch with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

In yet another round of induction, top leaders of the Congress and the NCP on Wednesday joined the BJP ahead of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly elections.

Veteran Congress leader and former minister Harshawardhan Patil and veteran NCP leader Ganesh Naik, once a close aide of NCP founder-president Sharad Pawar, joined the BJP on Wednesday.

Both have ministerial experience for over 15 years.

Along with Naik, 48 NCP corporators of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, also joined the BJP.

Both have been in touch with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP president and revenue minister Chandrakant Patil for some time.

Patil, a four-term MLA from Indapur constituency in Pune district, served as a minister in the erstwhile Shiv Sena-BJP government and the subsequent Congress-NCP Democratic Front government.

He was defeated in the 2014 Assembly polls in 2014 by NCP candidate Dattatray Barne.

NCP has refused to cede the Indapur seat to the Congress and hence he opted to join the BJP.

Naik’s son Sandeep had joined the BJP last month and his entry was on the cards since then.

Naik holds tremendous influence in Navi Mumbai and Raigad district, but lost the 2014 Assembly polls to the BJP candidate and former NCP party leader Manda Mhatre.

Naik had been a minister in the erstwhile Shiv Sena-BJP government and also the Congress-NCP government.

So far, six sitting Opposition MLAs— Shivendra Bhosale, Vaibhav Pichad, Sandip Naik, Ranajagjitsinh (NCP) and Kalidas Kolambar and Jaykumar Gore (Congress) have joined the BJP, besides several other former legislators and MPs.

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