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

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Mumbai, Sep 14: Ending days of speculation NCP's Lok Sabha member and descendant of Shivaji Maharaj, Udayanraje Bhosale joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in presence of party president Amit Shah on Saturday.

A three-time MP from NCP, Bhosale tendered his resignation from Lok Sabha to Speaker Om Birla yesterday. The MP, often a vocal critic of his own party, is apparently disgruntled with the factionalism within the NCP.

Home Minister Amit Shah gives party membership slip to senior NCP leader Udayanraje Bhosale, after the latter joined BJP, in the presence of party Working President JP Nadda and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, in New Delhi

Bhosale was earlier a member of the BJP and had even served as the member of the state cabinet of the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in the Maharashtra Assembly in 1998.

Bhosale is a key leader in Satara district, and his defection is expected to bolster the BJP while improving its standing with the Maratha community.

Why Maharashtra, Haryana assembly elections are crucial for BJP

"Today Chhatrapati Shivaji's descendent, who started a huge ideological movement of Swadesh and Swadharma during difficult times and established the Swaraj after several struggles, his descendant Udayanrajeji has joined BJP. I warmly welcome him on behalf of crores of BJP workers," said Amit Shah.

The BJP, which had won 122 of the total 288 seats in the 2014 elections, will emerge stronger and its alliance will win three-fourths seats this time, he said.

The Shiv Sena and a few smaller parties are part of the saffron alliance in the state. The Fadnavis government has worked for the state's all-round development and "restored" its pride in its five-year rule, Shah added.

Shah said the BJP and its alliance will receive even bigger support in the Assembly polls after it had decimated the Congress-NCP alliance in the recent Lok Sabha polls.

Bhonsle's move is a jolt to the 20-year-old NCP as many prominent leaders, including some former ministers, have quit the party to join the BJP and Shiv Sena ahead of next month's state Assembly elections.

Recently, his cousin and NCP's Satara MLA Shivendrasinh Bhosale deserted the opposition party and joined the BJP along with other legislators like Sandip Naik and Vaibhav Pichad.

On Wednesday, former state minister and NCP's Navi Mumbai strongman Ganesh Naik also joined the BJP along with around 50 corporators.

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