In a major jolt to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), its Mumbai President and former Maharashtra minister Sachin Ahir joined the Shiv Sena at a function in the Thackeray residence 'Matoshree' in Bandra on Thursday, July 25. Ahir and his wife Sangeeta were welcomed into the Sena by party president Uddhav Thackeray and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray.
The 47-year-old NCP leader was highly impressed with the work of Thackeray for the 'Marathi manus'. He said that his decision to join the Sena was based on the developmental issues concerning the common masses.
Ahir later clarified stating that "in politics, tough decisions have to be taken and he was pained over his decision".
Speaking to news agency IANS, Ahir said, "Thousands of Shiv Sainiks were calling me to join the Sena. I shall take up any responsibility given by the party and contribute to its growth and expansion," Ahir said, adding that "NCP President Sharad Pawar will always remain in my heart".
The recent development comes barely two months ahead of the state assembly elections.
Uddhav Thackeray asserted Ahir saying that he would not regret his decision. "With the entry of Sachin bhau, the strength of the Sena will increase," he said. As seen in the pictures, Thackerays also tied a symbolic 'Shiv Bandhan' on Ahir's wrist and gave him a party flag.
The move was criticised by NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik who said those who have no strength to fight, jump into the flow.
However, the Sena chief said that those who willingly came forward to join the party were always welcome as it was not his party's policy to "break other parties".
Meanwhile, speculations are rife that several other NCP bigwigs are also planning to quit.