Mumbai: Ganesh Naik, the NCP leader who recently jumped onto the saffron bandwagon with much aplomb, was left out of the BJP scheme of things at an event addressed by party vice-president J P Nadda on Sunday. Naik had a good reason to feel slighted.
All the party luminaries -- BJP National General Secretary and in-charge of Maharashtra, Bhupendra Yadav, National Vice President Vinay Sahastrabuddhe and even MLAs Sanjay Kelkar and Niranjan Davkhare -- were honourably seated on the stage. But Naik was not.
He was not even invited on the stage when the compere had the good sense to wish Naik a happy birthday. A former guardian minister of Thane district, he was simply offered a seat in the first row in the audience.
Unable to stomach the insult, Naik walked out of the Gadkari theatre where the programme was being held. Later, the BJP tried to downplay the incident by claiming that Naik had left as he had other pressing engagements.
Not just Naik, even Kirit Somaiya, who is a former Member of Parliament and in-charge of party affairs in Thane district, too was not seated on the stage.
Livid at being asked to sit in the audience, he chose to squat in the passage of the hall. Even after organisers requested him to come on the stage he did not respond.
NCP state president Jayant Patil lost no time in taking pot shots. “I was pained to see that Ganesh Naik was not offered a seat on the dais. By denying him his rightful due, the BJP has shown that it is really a ‘party with difference’, said Patil in his tweet.