NCP Mumbai chief Sachin Ahir joins Shiv Sena

NCP Mumbai chief Sachin Ahir joins Shiv Sena

Sachin Ahir stands between Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray at Matoshree in Mumbai.

In a big jolt to Sharad Pawar-led NCP,  senior leader and party's Mumbai president Sachin Ahir on Thursday joined the Shiv Sena. 

Ahir was inducted into the saffron party by Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and his son and Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray at Matoshree in Bandra, on Thursday.

The junior Thackeray was instrumental in getting Ahir to switchover from the NCP to Sena.

The 47-year-old Sachin Bhau, as he is popularly known, is a former MLA and had been a minister in the erstwhile Congress-NCP Democratic Front government.

Ahir has considerable following in Mumbai  and his entry to Shiv Sena is significant as Aditya, who is being projected as the next chief minister, is expected to contest from Mumbai.

Uddhav tied the 'Shiv-bandhan' on the wrist of Ahir, signifying the latter's formal entry into Shiv Sena. 

After joining the party, Ahir said that he would like to be part of the dream of late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. Ahir also thanked Pawar giving him an opportunity to serve NCP in various capacities.

"Last fortnight, I had met him and told him of the ground realities of my constituency... sometimes difficult political decisions needs to be taken," he said. "Pawar saheb will always close to my heart," he added.

He added that his aim is to work for development of Mumbai and Maharashtra and not to "break a party".

"Since last night, when the news went out, I received a lot of calls from party colleagues... let's see what happens in the days ahead," he said, hinting that a lot of NCP Mumbai activists would join Sena in the near future. 

Ahir is the nephew of jailed underworld don Arun Gawli. Both Aditya and Ahir said that they had been critics of each other but the aim was the development of Mumbai. 

“With entry of Sachin Bhau, the strength of the Shiv Sena will increase… He will not regret his decision to join our party,” remarked Thackeray Sr.

In 2014, Ahir had lost the Worli seat to Sunil Shinde of Shiv Sena. Ahir is associated with several social causes and is the founder of Shree Sankalp Prathistan, a charitable trust that hosts the Worli Festival and grand Dahi Handi celebrations. His wife,  Sangeeta Ahir, is a producer and heads the Mangal Murti Films.