BJP's doors open up to a host of Opposition leaders

Four MLAs, who resigned on Tuesday, joined BJP

Four MLAs are - Shivendraraje Bhosale, Vaibhav Pichad and Sandeep Naik (all from NCP) and Congressman Kalidas Kolambkar join BJP in an event attended by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

After neighbouring Karnataka and Goa, the BJP has launched a similar strategy in Maharashtra to rope in senior leaders and legislators from the Opposition Congress and the NCP in its fold.

Some of the big and dominant political families too are in touch with the BJP leadership, which included Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP president and revenue minister Chandrakant Patil.

"Around 50 (leaders, sitting and former legislators) are in touch with us," Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan, a key troubleshooter who is overseeing the inductions, said.

Patil has assured that all the new entrants would be given suitable roles befitting their stature in the party.

Many from the Opposition ranks had joined the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections and the same is seen ahead of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly polls.

On Wednesday, a host of Opposition leaders, mainly from the Congress, joined the BJP.

These include Vaibhav Pichad, Sandeep Naik and Shivendraraje Bhosale (all from the NCP) and Kalidas Kolambkar (Congress).

On Tuesday all four had tendered their resignations as MLAs.

Pichad's father Madhukar Pichad, who was once a close aide of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, and  Sandeep's brother and former Navi Mumbai mayor Sagar Naik have also joined the BJP. 

However, Sandeep's father Ganesh Naik, who too was expected to join the BJP,  was not present at the induction event.

Ganesh is a veteran politician who has nearly two decades of ministerial experience— first in the erstwhile Sena-BJP government and then in the Congress-NCP Democratic Front government.

Ganesh too is Pawar's close associate.

Apart from these, former IPS officer Sahebrao Patil, ex-state NCP women's wing president Chitra Wagh and Neeta Hole, a descendant of the legendary social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule, joined the BJP.

Fadnavis said that now these “leaders are in the right party” and said the doors of the BJP are always open to accommodate people from different parties.

The crossover of these leaders took place a day before Fadnavis embarks on his state-wide ‘Maha Janadesh Yatra’ to kickstart the poll campaign from Thursday.

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