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Maharashtra polls: Big blow to NCP as Ganesh Naik joins BJP

By Simran Kashyap

Mumbai, Sep 12: In another setback to the NCP ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly polls, former state minister and the party's Navi Mumbai strongman Ganesh Naik joined the BJP along with around 50 corporators on Wednesday.

Maharashtra polls: Big blow to NCP as Ganesh Naik joins BJP

Naik, his son - former MP Sanjeev - and the 50-odd corporators of the Navi Municipal Corporation (NMMC) formally joined the ruling party in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at Vashi in adjoining Navi Mumbai.

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The veteran leader's entry into the BJP now paves the way for the ruling party to control the NMMC.

Naik, who cut his teeth into politics with a stint in the Shiv Sena, joined the NCP 1999 - the year the party was established - following differences with late Bal Thackeray, the saffron party's founder.

A leader representing the Agri community, Naik contested the 2014 Assembly polls from Belapur, but lost to BJP's Manda Mhatre.

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    Naik's younger son Sandip joined the BJP on July 31, leading to speculation about him also deserting the Sharad Pawar-led party.

    Along with Sandip, NCP's two other legislators Shivendrasinh Bhosale and Vaibhav Pichad joined the BJP that day.

    Former Kolhapur MP Dhananjay Mahadik also switched loyalty to the ruling party recently.

    Earlier, the NCP had lost its Mumbai unit chief Sachin Ahir and MLAs Jaydutta Kshirsagar and Pandurang Barora to the Shiv Sena.

    The Assembly polls are due in the next few months.

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