Mumbai NCP president Sachin Ahir on Thursday joined Shiv Sena in presence of party chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai. Before joining Shiv Sena, Ahir met Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aditya Thackeray at Shiv Sena's office. Ahir's decision is a big blow for Nationalist Congress Party because he was a senior leader of the party. It may be recalled that Ahir was a minister when Congress-NCP government was in power in Maharashtra from 2009-2014.
Ahir comes from Worli in Mumbai and was believed to be very close to NCP chief Pawar. Experts maintain that Ahir's decision to join Shiv Sena is set to affect the prospects of both NCP and Congress in upcoming Assembly elections in Maharashtra.
Sources told Zee Media that another senior NCP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal is also planning to quit the party and join Shiv Sena in the coming days. For his part, Bhujbal has rejected the claim, saying that he has no such plan and he will continue to remain with Sharad Pawar's party.
It is learnt that NCP MLA Vaibhav Pichad is also planning to join the Shiv Sena. Few days ago, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil had said that some senior leaders of Congress and NCP are set to join the BJP and Shiv Sena.
In June, it was reported that NCP supremo Pawar was thinking of merging his party with the Congress. Pawar had however strongly rejected the reports and had claimed that his party has its own identity and it will maintain it. He had claimed that reports about the merger with the Congress were rumours spread by some journalists who wanted that NCP should not stay together with our allies. The speculations of Congress-NCP merger started after Congress president Rahul Gandhi met Pawar in New Delhi following BJP's massive victory in 2019 Lok Sabha election.