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Maharashtra Election 2019: Advantage BJP as NCP stung by mass exodus


Mumbai, Sep 14: The exodus from the Nationalist Congress Party has reached its peak ahead of assembly elections in Maharashtra.

The latest setback for the NCP came from, Senior party leader Udayanraje Bhosale, a descendant of warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who joined the BJP camp today.

Sharad Pawar

Several senior leaders from the opposition NCP and Congress have recently joined the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena in the state, where the Assembly polls are due next month.

On September 13, former Maharashtra unit NCP president Bhaskar Jadhav joined the Shiv Sena.

Maharashtra polls: Udayanraje Bhosale, NCP leader, descendant of Shivaji Maharaj, joins BJP

Recently, former ministers Ganesh Naik, and Jaydutt Kshirasagar, MLAs Shivendrasinh Bhosale, Sandip Naik and Vaibhav Pichad to name a few switched their allegiance to the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena.

In a major setback, Ahir, who had been with Sharad Pawar since the party's inception in 1999, had joined the Shiv Sena.

The ongoing mass exodus of Congress-NCP leaders and shift to the saffron combine barely two months before the state assembly election, actually signals deeper crisis within the party.

Though, mass exodus is not new to the NCP, what makes it interesting is the exit of senior leaders, many of whom were long time aides of Pawar or nurtured by the Maratha strongman.

NCP not new to exodus

NCP president Sharad Pawar is not disturbed over the mass exodus of his party workers into BJP-Shiv Sena. Back in 1980, there was a similar situation. While he was on a foreign tour, 54 out of 60 legislators quit.

It is a reversal of what happened in 1998-98 when the party was formed by Sharad Pawar. Then there was inflow to the NCP from all other parties.

Sharad Pawar to embark on Maharashtra tour amid string of resignations

Pawar will embark on a tour to Maharashtra from September 17, even as a string of leaders have resigned from the party recently. The first phase of the tour will focus on the districts of Marathwada and western Maharashtra.

In the last state assembly elections, both the BJP and Sena had contested elections separately, breaking its 25-year pre-poll alliance.

In 2014 assembly polls, the BJP had emerged the single-largest party, winning 122 of 288 seats. When it failed to reach the majority mark of 145, NCP leader Pawar offered to support the BJP. Pawar claimed that this offer was made in Maharashtra's interest. After the support, the Sena, with 63 MLAs, joined the government.

The NCP is fighting the upcoming Assembly elections in alliance with the Congress and some smaller parties.

Pawar had fanned parts of his home state during the April-May Lok Sabha elections and addressed around 80 public rallies. The NCP had managed to retain its 2014 tally of four LS seats in Maharashtra.

In the assembly elections held in 2014, the Sharad Pawar-led party had

won 41 out of the total 288 seats.

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