BJP MP Rajendra Gavit joins Shiv Sena

Mumbai: To placate its ally Shiv Sena by leaving it the Palghar Lok Sabha constituency, the BJP sent its sitting Member of Parliament Rajendra Gavit to the camp of the Sena, to ensure he would get a ticket for the same constituency.

Though, it was embarrassing for Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as he could not keep the promise he had made to Shrinivas Vanga, he described this matter of political compulsion as ‘exchange of partners’. Thackeray had promised Shrinivas he would be the Sena candidate from Palghar, in anticipation that the Sena-BJP would be a no-go and the two would contest the polls separately.

However, Gavit, the former Congress minister who had joined the BJP before the Palghar bypolls, contested the election and won against the Sena’s Vanga. The BJP had claimed the Palghar seat, having a sitting MP there and the dispute went on until last Sunday.

Gavit met CM Fadnavis late on Monday, where he was persuaded his political career would be protected and he would get the ticket. However, according to the understanding between Fadnavis and Thackeray, Gavit, on Tuesday morning, met Thackeray. Vanga too met Thackeray on the same day. Thackeray announced the candidature of Gavit for the Palghar seat, after he joined the party.

Defending his decision, said,“The exchange of candidates is not new for the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance. Earlier too, our leaders like Subhash Bhamare and Suresh Prabhu have gone to the BJP.”  “In the seat-sharing pact, the Sena has received the Palghar seat. During the previous by-poll, I had publicly announced I wanted Shrinivas Vanga to go to Parliament.

However, Shrinivas expressed his desire to work in the assembly first,”said Thackeray. “In the past few months, Vanga has taken stock of the Palghar constituency and is of the view that he should first work as a member of the legislative assembly and later as an MP. I have given my word to him to send him to Parliament.

However, since he wants to work as an MLA first, I will send him to the state legislature,” Thackeray added. Thackeray said that Gavit has worked in the constituency for the past eight to nine months and therefore, instead of giving the ticket to some one else, he found it appropriate to induct him into the Sena and field him from Palghar.

The opposition Nationalist Congress Party took a dig at Thackeray over the candidature of Gavit. “By snatching Shrinivas Vanga from the BJP and making him fight the Palghar bypoll and now denying him a ticket, shows how Sena president Uddhav Thackeray takes care of the children of other politicians,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said.

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