Mumbai: Shiv Sena leader, Rahul Narvekar, has quit the party and joined the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party.
Upset with his party over the withdrawal of his nomination to the Maharashtra Legislative council, Mr Narvekar decided to quit the party he had been a member of for the last 15 years. Mr Narvekar was welcomed into the NCP by Sharad Pawar's nephew, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.
Rahul Narvekar told NDTV, "Actually, it's not a decision taken after a single incident. But I guess this was the tip or I guess this was where the breaking point was. There were things in the party which were ignored in the past and my experience during this legislative council was absolutely upsetting where colleagues from your party sabotage your prospects and when you complain about the same to the leadership, the leadership takes no action. If that is the case how will anyone contest on the party ticket?"
Last week Mr Narvekar met Mr Pawar after his party turned a deaf year to his pleas. He will now contest the Lok Sabha polls on an NCP ticket from Maval constituency on the Pune-Raigad border where he claims to have a base.
"I've spent about last six years of my career in Raigad district. I belong to the Raigad district and I have commercial interests there...I've reached every corner of the three constituencies of the Maval seat which are in Raigad, that's Panvel, Uran Karjat and Khalapur."
Considered close to Matoshree, especially Aditya Thackeray, president of the Yuva Sena which Mr Narvekar helped build, his exit is unlikely to hurt the party's prospect in the polls. However, the development is symptomatic of the churn within the organisation.
While Rahul Narvekar may not be considered a grassroots leader by the Shiv Sena, he was a face for the party especially in the national media. With the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) eating into its vote bank and problems with ally BJP over its parleys with Raj Thackeray, an exodus of leaders is the last thing the Sena would want.
Taking a dig at the Sena, Maharashtra deputy chief minister, Ajit Pawar said, "If I reveal the number of people from the Shiv Sena I am in contact with, then the Shiv Sena president won't be able to sleep at night."