Mumbai, March 19: The NCP Wednesday sacked a Maharashtra cabinet minister after his daughter joined the BJP and was given a ticket for the Nandurbar Lok Sabha constituency, party leaders said.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) requested Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to drop Medical Education Minister Vijaykumar Gavit from the cabinet Wednesday evening, NCP executive president Jitendra Awhad told IANS.
Accordingly, a recommendation to the effect was sent to Governor K. Sankaranarayanan and would be implemented, official sources said.
Gavit’s daughter and medico Heena Gavit Wednesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in the presence of party chief Rajnath Singh and prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
She was rewarded with a ticket for the Nandurbar tribal constituency in north Maharashtra, where she will battle it out with nine-time Congress MP and Minister of State for Social Justice Manikrao Gavit.
Vijaykumar Gavit’s sacking followed a warning issued March 17 by NCP leader and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.
“If Gavit gets his daughter to contest the Lok Sabha election from a communal party like BJP, I will write to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to expel him from the ministry. He will also cease to be a member of the NCP,” Pawar had said.
There is an apprehension that Gavit will also walk over to the BJP.
Party leaders said the move to sack him also sent a strong signal to potential defectors that they would not be spared however well placed they may be in the party or in the government.
Incidentally, the Gavits – Manikrao Gavit and Vijaykumar Gavit (not related to each other) – have been old political rivals in the tribal-dominated Nandurbar district bordering Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
In an attempt to capture the critical Congress stronghold, Vijaykumar Gavit’s younger brother Sharad Gavit had contested on a Samajwadi Party ticket and lost to Manikrao Gavit in the 2009 elections.
Later, in the 2009 Maharashtra assembly polls, Sharad Gavit contested and won from the Navapur seat on a Samajwadi Party ticket.