Around 200 Shiv Sena workers have resigned to protest former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ganesh Naik being offered an election ticket from Navi Mumbai. The workers belong to Shiv Sena’s Navi Mumbai unit.
Naik has reportedly been offered a ticket to contest the Maharashtra Assembly election from the Airoli and Belapur Vidhan Sabha constituencies in Navi Mumbai. Ganesh Naik, an NCP strongman in Navi Mumbai, defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on September 11 along with his son Sandeep.
The party’s city unit chief and district vice-president have also submitted their resignations.
Confirming the development, a senior Sena leader from Navi Mumbai told Moneycontrol that the reason cadre had resigned was because they did not want to work for Naik.
"We have the organisational strength, the capability and the cadre. To campaign for someone like Naik, who has been hell-bent on destroying Sena in Navi Mumbai for the past 20 years, is unacceptable. The workers did not want to do that," the leader said.
Vijay Mane, Shiv Sena’s Navi Mumbai city chief, told Moneycontrol: "Around 20 years ago, this man (Naik) had forcefully removed the photo of our chief, Balasaheb Thackeray, from the city's civic body building. We have been in Sena for the past two decades and our party has a firm base in this region.”
“We would rather sit at home than campaign for Naik," Mane said, adding that more resignations, including those from senior Sena leaders in the region, were expected.
Naik is a former state cabinet minister and has held several key portfolios in the state. Naik and his family are considered to have influence over the politics in Navi Mumbai.
Maharashtra is scheduled to head for polling on October 21, along with Haryana. Counting of votes in both states will happen on October 24.
Speaking to reporters on September 30 evening, state minister and BJP’s state unit chief Chandrakant Patil had confirmed that the two parties will contest the Assembly polls together along with other smaller allies and that they had reached a seat-sharing agreement. The seat-sharing formula is yet to be announced.
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