Mumbai NCP president Sachin Ahir and former Maharashtra chief minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal are planning to quit the party and join Shiv Sena, sources told Zee Media.
Sources added that Ahir is scheduled to meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday and may announce his decision to quit the NCP during a press conference at 11:00 AM. Ahir was a minister when Congress-NCP government was in power in Maharashtra from 2009-2014.
If Ahir decides to leave NCP then it will be a big blow for Sharad Pawar's party because he is a senior leader of the party. Ahir comes from Worli in Mumbai and he is believed to be very close to NCP chief Pawar. Experts maintain that Ahir's decision to join Shiv Sena would affect the prospects of both NCP and Congress in upcoming Assembly elections in Maharashtra.
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.