Five leaders re-joined the party in the presence of Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.
Five leaders re-joined the party in the presence of Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.

In yet another flashpoint between the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the latter has engineered a split in the former party in the Sinnar Municipal Council in Nashik. Earlier, this month, the relationship between the two parties had hit an air-pocket as the NCP walked off with five corporators from the Shiv Sena at Parner in Ahmednagar. After the upset Shiv Sena leadership read out the riot act to the NCP, the five re-joined the party in the presence of Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.

This had brought to the fore the contradictions in the ruling alliance as the Shiv Sena and NCP share an overlapping area of influence, with one party being able to grow at the cost of the other. The two parties are also competitors in vast swathes of the state when it comes to local politics.

In Sinnar, Shiv Sena rebel Balasaheb Ugale trounced Pranali Golesar, an Independent, who was supported by the Sena, with five Shiv Sena corporators cross-voting. “The Shiv Sena’s leaders were unable to take care of their flock or take them into confidence. This led to a lot of disgruntlement. Hence, these corporators decided to walk out,” said NCP Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Manikrao Kokate.

In the 29-member House, the Shiv Sena has 17 corporators, followed by the NCP’s 10 and two Independents.

“These Shiv Sena rebels have not joined the NCP. We have only helped them. It is the Shiv Sena’s responsibility to take care of their folk, and not ours,” said Kokate, barely mincing his words.

Incidentally, Kokate was a Shiv Sena MLA in 2004, when he joined former chief minister and then leader of opposition Narayan Rane’s rebellion against the party. He has been part of the Congress and the BJP, before finding his way to the NCP before last year’s assembly polls. Kokate defeated the Shiv Sena’s then MLA Prakash Waje to be elected to the state assembly.

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