Sena loses ex-Nashik dist chief to NCP

With binding force Bal Thackeray not there, cracks have begun appearing in Shiv Sena.

Over the past week, some senior leaders have quit the party, while others are planning to leave and are openly attacking the leadership.

Former Nashik district president Sunil Bagul, who was with Sena for 33 years, made disparaging remarks against senior leaders, including party MP Sanjay Raut, and was shown the door last week.

He joined NCP in the presence of deputy CM Ajit Pawar Monday.

"The party may be nice but the people running it, including Sanjay Raut, are troublesome. I led the party to wins in past assembly and Lok Sabha elections. In recent times, Sena working style has changed. Old-timers do not have access to (executive president) Uddhav (Thackeray)," said an emotional Bagul.

Ajit said Bagul would strengthen NCP in rural and urban Nashik.

Making it clear NCP would not leave an opportunity to tap "unhappy" workers in other parties, he said: "This is not our attempt to break a party. There was a problem in the party and they approached us as an alternative. We have welcomed them after considering their work in the area. There are many workers who are upset with things in their parties and they will take a decision at an appropriate time."

Ajit said he had convinced MNS MLA from Kannad Harshvardhan Jadhav to take back his resignation considering the severe drought in his region and to work for the people who had elected him. "I told him he should not quit because of personal reasons."

Bagul, a Sena strongman in the district, had unsuccessfully contested the 2009 assembly elections. Elevation of individuals who recently joined Sena in Nashik to positions of power miffed him and after the death of Thackeray he openly started talking about leaving the party.

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