Mumbai, March 28: Plagued by outgoing defections in recent weeks, the Shiv Sena Friday opened its doors to Nationalist Congress Party legislator Vinayak Mete, a strong proponent of reservations for Marathas and a close associate of party chief Sharad Pawar, to the party fold.
For the past several years, Mete has been agitating for 25 percent reservations for the powerful Maratha community which has ruled the state barring three occasions.
This has added to the strength of the ‘Grand Alliance’ in the state, which comprises the Sena, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Republican Party of India-A, Swabhiman Shetkari Sanghatana, Rashtriya Samaj Paksh and now Mete’s Shiv Sangram.
Mete becomes the second important leader after RPI-A chief Ramdas Athavale quit the Congress-NCP alliance to throw his lot with the combine a couple of years ago.
Shiv Sangram propagates Chhatrapati Shivaji’s cult and has been agitating since long demanding reservations for the Maratha community in education and jobs.
Mete started falling out of favour with NCP after he demanded a Special Investigation Team to probe the alleged irregularities in the construction of ‘Maharashtra Sadan’ in New Delhi, virtually targeting Pawar’s trusted aide and Tourism Minister Chhagan Bhujbal.
Not amused by such political arm-twisting, the NCP served a show-cause notice to Mete earlier this month.