Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Udayanraje Bhosale today resigned as a Lok Sabha MP and joined the BJP in presence of top party leaders, including party president Amit Shah and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Mr Bhosale is the latest prominent leader to quit Sharad Pawar's party to join the BJP and its ally Shiv Sena ahead of the state elections next month.
Mr Bhosale, who is a descendant of Warrior King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, said that he was inspired by the policies pursued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"I am inspired by the works and leadership of PM Modi, Amit Shah and the BJP. I am happy to see that the BJP was following the paths of Shivaji Maharaj to strengthen the country," said Mr Bhosale, who represented Satara in the Lok Sabha.
Earlier this morning, Mr Bhosale met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and submitted his resignation from the Lower House.
He then arrived at the residence of Amit Shah, where he formally joined the BJP in the presence of Working President J.P. Nadda, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and several other senior leaders.
Amit Shah, while welcoming Mr Bhosale, said: "The BJP and the Jana Sangh has always followed the ideologies of Shivaji Maharaj. And it was great that one of his family members has joined the party."
"He resigned as an MP within four months on moral grounds to join the BJP, which is a matter of pride," he said.
Mr Bhosale won the Satara seat by a margin of around 1,30,000 votes in the Lok Sabha elections held this year.
Mr Bhosale's decision is a jolt to the 20-year-old NCP whose many prominent leaders, including some former ministers, have quit the party to join the BJP and Shiv Sena ahead of next month's state Assembly elections.
Recently, three NCP legislators- Shivendrasinh Bhosale, Sandeep Naik and Vaibhav Pichad- joined the BJP along with the party's state women wing president Chitra Wagh.
NCP's Mumbai unit president Sachin Ahir and Shahapur MLA Pandurang Barora have also resigned and joined the Shiv Sena.
Despite the desertions, Nationalist Congress Party chief has maintained that the developments will not have any bearing on the NCP's Assembly poll prospects.
"My best wishes to those in the party who have other ideas (of desertion) on their minds. Such situations arise in politics sometimes and I have the experience of dealing with it," Mr Pawar told reporters in Satara.