In a major setback to Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ahead of Maharashtra Assembly Elections, its Mumbai President Sachin Ahir joined the Shiv Sena on Thursday. Ahir and his wife Sangeeta was welcomed into the Sena by party chief Uddhav Thackeray and Yuva Sena president Aaditya Thackeray at a function in the Thackeray residence 'Matoshree' in Bandra.
47-year-old Ahir, who was a minister in the previous Congress-NCP coalition government in the state, was associated with the Sharad Pawar-led party since its formation in 1999.
He represented Shivdi Assembly seat in Mumbai from 1999 to 2009 and was later elected from Worli, after delimitation of constituencies.
In 2014, he lost the Assembly election to Shiv Sena's Sunil Shinde.
Ahir told PTI he had no grudge against the NCP.
"But some unavoidable political decisions had to be taken considering the prevailing situation," Ahir said.
Ahir said a couple of days back, he met Aaditya Thackeray at a social event where the latter told him that the Shiv Sena needed leaders like him, who were "well-versed in urban politics".
"The Shiv Sena is in power in most of the municipal corporations in the state. I can use my expertise gained as a minister for the development of cities. Hence, I took the decision to work for the development of cities by being in power," he said.
However, Ahir said it is yet not clear whether he will contest the forthcoming state Assembly poll from Worli or not.
Commenting on the development, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that it was not his party’s policy to ‘break other parties’, but those who willingly came forward to join the party were always welcome.
"With the entry of Sachin bhau, the strength of the Sena will increase. He will not regret his decision to join our party," he said.