In a setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two key functionaries from Nashik joined the Shiv Sena on Friday. The defection came as the Sena has started planning for Nashik civic polls slated for 2022.

Sena leader and in-charge of party’s north Maharashtra operations, Sanjay Raut termed their induction as “homecoming”. Raut said more BJP leaders are in contact with the party and will join soon.

Vasant Gite, former MLA from the Nashik Central Assembly seat, and Sunil Bagul joined the party and later met Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.

According to a senior Sena functionary from Nashik, the induction of the two leaders in the Sena will weaken the BJP’s influence in the 122-member Nashik civic body, which is currently controlled by the BJP.

Raut, while speaking to media, said the next mayor in Nashik will be from the Sena and make the city, which was dented by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and breached by the BJP in 2017, their bastion.

“It (induction of BJP functionaries) was not some masterplan. The political winds are changing in Nashik… The next Mayor will be from the Shiv Sena… The contribution of these two leaders will be important to make Nashik a strong bastion of the Shiv Sena once again,” Raut said.

Besides Gite and Bagul, their supporters from the BJP from Nashik also joined the Sena. Raut said Shobha Magar, president of BJP Nashik women’s wing, and Prakash Dayma, who is district secretary of BJP in Nashik, will also join the party. “Since yesterday many senior leaders from the BJP have contacted and expressed interest to work in the Shiv Sena. Among the people who have contacted us include people connected to the civic body,” Raut said.

Source: Read Full Article