Mumbai: NCP leader Ganesh Naik joins BJP

Mumbai: In another setback to the NCP ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly polls, former state minister and the party's Navi Mumbai strongman Ganesh Naik, his son and former NCP MP Sanjiv Naik joined the BJP along with around 50 corporators on Wednesday.

With this, NCP has lost lone Municipal Corporation in the Mumbai Metro region as now BJP will rule the Navi Municipal Corporation (NMMC). The joining ceremony took place in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at Vashi in adjoining Navi Mumbai.

The veteran leader's entry into the BJP now paves the way for the ruling party to control the NMMC. Naik, who cut his teeth into politics with a stint in the Shiv Sena, joined the NCP 1999 - the year the party was established following differences with late Bal Thackeray. He holds political control over Navi Mumbai.

A leader representing the Agri community, Naik contested the 2014 Assembly polls from Belapur, but lost to BJP's Manda Mhatre.

“Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has done very good work in last 5 years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a courageous decision to scrap Article 370,” Naik said after joining BJP.

“With the entry of Ganesh Naik, BJP now need not worry about Navi Mumbai. The BJP will be stronger with his entry as there large number of people in Navi Mumbai, Thane, Panvel who respect Naik as he has helped them in one or the other way,’’ CM Fadnavis said while welcoming Naik.

Naik's younger son Sandip joined the BJP on July 31, leading to speculation about him also deserting the Sharad Pawar-led party.

Along with Sandip, NCP's two other legislators Shivendrasinh Bhosale and Vaibhav Pichad joined the BJP that day. Former Kolhapur MP Dhananjay Mahadik also switched loyalty to the ruling party recently.

Earlier, the NCP had lost its Mumbai unit chief Sachin Ahir and MLAs Jaydutta Kshirsagar and Pandurang Barora to the Shiv Sena.

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