FPJ POLITICAL BUREAU Mumbai

Even as the dust from the political storm created after the NCP poached Shiv Sena MP Anand Paranjape is yet to settle down, the party has indicated dropping of another bombshell.

The party has anno

unced that another MP and a party president is slated to join the NCP today.

The announcement made by none other than NCP state chief Madhurkar Pichad has sent shockwaves through the Shiv Sena again. It is believed that NCP President Sharad Pawars one- time close lieutenant Hitendra Thakur, President of Bahujan Vikas Aghadi and his only MP and tribal leader Baliram Jadhav may join the party on Saturday.

None of the sides though are ready to confirm this. The million- dollar question therefore will be answered only today.

The announcement of another MP joining the party was done by NCP state president Madhukar Pichad at Sangli on Friday.

After this, speculations were rife with various names. If an MP from the opposition parties joins the NCP, either he has to resign and get re- elected or he can continue with his party as Sena MP Paranjape has chosen to do. MNS leader Bala Nandgaokar also practised the same formula earlier.

Rumours also went around on Friday that Raju Shetty, a Lok Sabha MP and President of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana was the MP that NCP is hinting at. But, Shettys main political plank is Anti- Pawar and if he joins the NCP, he may be rejected by the public in general and the farmers in particular. Later in the evening, reliable sources hinted Palghar MP Baliram Jadhavs name. Hitendra Thakur was once close to Sharad Pawar. Currently he is supporting Congress- NCP led DF government in the state and UPA government at the Centre. When contacted by media, Jadhav rejected reports of his joining NCP. The new MP will join the NCP in the presence of Ajit Pawar, second in command in the NCP. Questions are being asked whether he wants to overshadow Pawar senior by merging another party with its MP into the NCP. The issue also hints at the cold- war within the leadership.

Another MP and a party president likely to join NCP today

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