The recent entry of Sanjay Kadam, an NCP leader from Maharashtra’s Konkan region into Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena has not gone well with the NCP’s rank and file.
Thackeray addressed a mega rally on Sunday at Khed in Ratnagiri where he opened the party’s doors to Sanjay Kadam, an NCP leader and former MLA from Khed, Dapoli.
Sanjay lost the 2019 elections to Yogesh Kadam, son of Ramdas Kadam, erstwhile Shivsena leader who has joined the Eknath Shinde camp. The margin of Yogesh's win was just 13,578. Sanjay was MLA from the same constituency in 2014.
To strengthen his party, Uddhav Thackeray is giving entries to strong contenders in 40 assembly constituencies. Uddhav has lost 40 of its MLAs to Eknath Shine's rebellion.
Shock for NCP
But, bringing the NCP leader to its fold has not gone well in Sharad Pawar's party. Sanjay Kadam was very close to the NCP leader Ajit Pawar. He was nurtured by junior Pawar to become MLA again in 2024. Poaching such a leader is a shock for NCP.
"Back in 2020, when Uddhavji was CM, five corporators of the Parner Municipal Council had left his party to join NCP. That time, he complained about it to Sharad Pawar ji and NCP had to send back those five corporators to Uddhav. Nobody has forgotten this in our party," said a senior NCP leader who is concerned about these developments.
Sources also said the Sanjay Kadam entry matter was discussed at the party's highest level. "Right now, Uddhav Thackeray is under attack by BJP and Eknath Shinde. In such circumstance, NCP leadership do not want to create a scene where alliance partners of MVA are also against Uddhav ji. That's why everybody has kept mum in our party," said the NCP leader.
Reason for NCP's silence
There is also a reason for this silence from the NCP side. The party leadership is clearly seeing the enormous sympathy for Uddhav and Aaditya Thackeray in Maharashtra. Uddhav won't leave MVA as he is badly trapped by BJP. Lok Sabha elections are just one year away and the assembly one and half.
In such conditions, NCP eying to gain on Uddhav's popularity by keeping the coalition intact. "We think of long-term. Just for the defection of one or two leaders, we don't want to lose a possibly winning friend. It is better to just see what is happening without reaction in the larger interest," said the senior NCP leader.
After the defeat of the Chinchwad by-election, NCP leader Ajit Pawar gave one important reaction. He said, "MVA leaders have to sit across and discuss the seat-sharing formula so that better results would arrive." It means that NCP wants to get a big share in seat-sharing discussions.
These negotiations will be most important and till that time NCP leadership will show utmost patience about all the happenings.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)