MUMBAI: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday claimed that many leaders from various parties in Maharashtra are ready to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) soon.
"Several leaders are enthusiastically queuing up to join the BJP. Just wait and watch," Fadnavis said, while welcoming former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Niranjan Davkhare to the party fold.
He added that the BJP was always ready to accommodate people who were doing good work for the people and society and the entry of a youth leader like Davkhare "would be an asset to the party".
"What Maharashtra has achieved in the past four years was never seen in the earlier two decades. Similarly, in the past 25 years, the one government that has stood behind the people like the Himalayas is the present (Modi) government," Fadnavis said.
Today's development came amidst fresh political speculation that another NCP legislator and Mathadi labour leader, Narendra Patil, was likely to cross over to the BJP soon.
On Wednesday, jolted by Davkhare's move to quit the party and his membership of the Legislative Council, the NCP retaliated by suspending him from the party membership for six years for anti-party utterances and activities.
Davkhare, 39, is the son of the late NCP leader Vasant Davkhare, who was among the closest aides of party President Sharad Pawar, and a former Deputy Chairman of the Upper House, besides holding other important posts.
"Sharad Pawar is a great leader. However, I wanted the opportunity to work under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Davkhare said as BJP state President Raosaheb Patil-Danve formally inducted him into the party.
On quitting, Davkhare had on Wednesday said he was "feeling very sad to leave the NCP", whose birth and growth he had witnessed along with his father, "but I am totally fed up with the local intra-party politics".
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has announced another round of elections to two Graduates and two Teachers Division constituencies in the Upper House to be held on June 8.
The four retiring members are: Apoorva P. Hiray (BJP) from Nashik Division Teachers constituency, Kapil Patil (JD-U) of Mumbai Division Teachers constituency, Deepak Sawant (Shiv Sena) from Mumbai Division Graduates constituency and Davkhare from Konkan Division Graduates constituency.
However, it is not clear if Davkhare will be given BJP ticket to contest the bye-polls to the Upper House next month.