Mumbai, Feb 18: In a potential pre-election jolt to the Shiv Sena, it may lose its Shirdi Lok Sabha member to the ruling Congress, party sources revealed here Tuesday.
The senior Shiv Sena Bhausaheb Wakchaure Tuesday met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and state Congress president Manikrao Thakre and discussed the development issues pertaining to his constituency in Ahmednagar district.
Wakchaure’s meeting came before the Congress’s planned Feb 24 mega-rally in Shrirampur, around 30 kms from the famous temple town.
“At the mega-rally, Wakchaure and thousands of his supporters are expected to join the Congress, significantly boosting the party’s prospects in the region,” said a top Congress leader, requesting anonymity.
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant declined to confirm or deny the developments. “He has not formally joined the Congress. You may draw your own conclusions…” he said.
The Feb 24 rally will be addressed by union ministers Sushilkumar Shinde and Ghulam Nabi Azad, besides Chavan and Thakre where the future poll strategy and political developments of Shirdi and the region would be decided.
Wakchaure, a former chief trustee of the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi, had contested the 2009 elections as a Shiv Sena candidate and defeated his main rival, Republican Party of India-A chief Ramdas Athawale, who stood as an independent supported by Congress-Nationalist Congress Party.
Later, RPI-A entered into a grand alliance with the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party to pose a formidable challenge to the other major political parties in the state.