All 28 Congress corporators of Maharashtra's Malegaon city in Nashik district, including the mayor, have crossed over to the party, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has claimed. Both the NCP and the Congress are allies in the Shiv Sena-led MVA government in the state.
28 Congress corporators, including the mayor of Malegaon, joined the Sharad Pawar-led outfit in Mumbai in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and state NCP president Jayant Patil, NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said.
The Congress, however, said 27 of the 28 party members in the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) have joined the NCP.
The NCP already has 20 corporators in the 84-member civic body. The Shiv Sena has 13 in the Malegaon Municipal Corporation, the BJP has 9, the AIMIM 7, the JD(S) 6, and there is one Independent member.
Both Jayant Patil and Ajit Pawar said Malegaon will have an NCP MLA in the next Assembly elections and the party will work for the development of the city.
A state Congress office-bearer said the party corporators switched sides on grounds that the civic body wasn't getting funds for development projects in Malegaon.
Development funds are allotted by Ajit Pawar, an NCP leader who is also the Finance Minister, he said.
Asked about the development, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole said, "Even though the Congress and the NCP are allies in the MVA, this is politics. Some NCP corporators are joining us. I will not reveal much detail now."
He said if the NCP was engineering defections in the Congress ranks, "we, too, will decide what to do in the future."
"Those who quit on their own are not required to tell their grievances to the party leadership," Mr Patole said.