Major setback to Congress-NCP in Maharashtra as two of its leaders set to join Shiv Sena

In a major setback to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, two of their MLAs are set to join the Shiv Sena.

According to the Hindustan Times, NCP legislator Dilip Sopal and former Congress legislator Dilip Mane will join Shiv Sena. They both are likely to join Sena today. Six-time legislator Dilip Sopal on Tuesday resigned as NCP MLA. Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde accepted Sopal's resignation.

“We are working towards expanding the party. There are many people who intend to join the Sena owing to Uddhavji and Aadityaji’s leadership. They know that their parties [Congress and NCP] don’t have a chance in the next election,” a senior party functionary working in Solapur district told the leading daily. Meanwhile, Mane who was a legislator from Solapur South may have to be accommodated on some other Sena seat.

Sopal is expected to join the Shiv Sena in the presence of that party's chief Uddhav Thackeray at a function in Mumbai. There is speculation that former NCP MP Dr Padamsinh Patil, who has been with the party since its formation in 1999, and his son Rana Jagjitsinh Patil may also be on their way out. Both were conspicuous by their absence at the NCP’s Shiv Swarajya Yatra in Osmanabad on Monday.

Among those who have left the NCP recently are former minister Madhukar Pichad, his son and party legislator Vaibhav Pichad from Ahmednagar district, legislators Shivendraraje Bhosale from Satara district, Sandeep Naik from Navi Mumbai and the party's former state women's wing chief Chitra Wagh. All have since joined the BJP.

Former state minister Jaidatta Kshirsagar, NCP's Mumbai unit chief Sachin Ahir, legislator Pandurang Barora from Thane district and party leader Rashmi Bagul from Solapur district recently joined the Shiv Sena.

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