MUMBAI: In a big blow to the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party, five prominent party faces including senior leader Vaibhav Madhukar Pichad joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday.
Others who joined the BJP include legislators Shivendra Raje Bhosale, Sandeep Naik, Vaibhav Madhukar Pichad and former NCP women's wing president Chitra Wagh.
Seven-time Congress legislator Congress MLA Kalidas Kolambkar also switched him political camp to join the BJP on Wednesday.
The members joined the party in presence of state BJP President Chandrakant Patil and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at a function in Mumbai on Wednesday morning.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar has accused the BJP and the Central government of pressuring leaders of opposition parties to join the BJP.
Dismissing the allegations, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Sunday asked the senior leader to instead introspect within his party.
A string of NCP members quit the party ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly election, which is likely to be held in October 2019. Earlier, NCP Mumbai president Sachin Ahir joined the Shiv Sena. Speculations of several other NCP bigwigs are planning to quit have also been doing the rounds.