New Delhi, Sep 14 : Giving a major boost to the BJP ahead of crucial assembly polls in Maharashtra, a key NCP leader from Satara region and a direct descendant of Shivaji Maharaj, Udayanraje Bhosale on Saturday joined BJP here in presence of party chief Amit Shah and state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
"I have decided to join BJP impressed by the leadership and good works of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief and Home Minister Amit Shah," Mr Bhosale told reporters. He especially lauded the BJP-led NDA regime's decision to take concrete steps in Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating Article 370. Mr Bhosale earlier called on Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and tendered his resignation as member of the lower House of Parliament from Satara.
Welcoming him into party fold, BJP president Mr Shah exuded confidence that his party will record a convincing win in Maharashtra state polls and "it will be bigger than party's performance in recent Lok Sabha polls". "In our endeavour to record the win, Mr Bhosale's entry into the party fold will help us," he said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister said Mr Bhosale is extremely popular among youths and thus joining the BJP will help the saffron party and also the state as a whole. BJP working president J P Nadda was also present on the occasion. The Maharashtra watchers, however, say it is like 'home coming' for Mr Bhosale, who had earlier served as Revenue Minister in the Sena-BJP government between 1995 and 1999 but had joined Sharad Pawar-led NCP in 2009.
The development is seen as a major setback to the NCP as party's strength in Lok Sabha will be now reduced to a modest three from four.
Mr Bhosale's decision to dump Mr Pawar merely weeks before the state polls will improve BJP's popularity among the Maratha community, sources said here. (UNI)