Five Shiv Sena councillors of Parner municipal council in Ahmednagar district, who had switched sides to ally with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), leading to discontent between the two parties and evoking a strong reaction from the Chief Minister office, returned to their original party on Wednesday.
The move comes two days after NCP chief Sharad Pawar held a meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and a late Tuesday night meeting between Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and Sena ministers.
The five councillors, who on Wednesday morning met Mr. Ajit Pawar, later visited the CM’s residence Matoshri to again join the Sena. They conveyed to Mr. Thackeray that their decision to defect was resulted from the local Sena leadership’s failure.
The episode, however, had created an atmosphere of distrust between the allies in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Last week, the five Sena councillors joined the NCP, in the presence of local NCP MLA Nilesh Lanke. Mr. Lanke, who was originally with the Sena, had switched his allegiance to the NCP before the 2019 Assembly polls, due to his differences with the then sitting Sena MLA Vijay Auti.
According to sources within the NCP, the five councillors from Mr. Lanke’s camp were to join the NCP along with him. “But the decision was then kept on hold. They later thought that joining the party of the local MLA would be beneficial to them, and therefore they chose the NCP,” an NCP leader said.
In the meeting with the NCP chief, Mr. Thackeray made clear his displeasure over poaching councillors of allies. “It was conveyed to those five that being an alliance government, all their grievances would be resolved, and hence, they decided to join the Sena again,” the leader said.