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Advantage Aditya Thackeray as NCP's Sachin Ahir Jumps Ship to Shiv Sena Ahead of Assembly Polls

Shiv Sena’s move was likely prompted by the party’s need to look for a safe seat for Yuva Sena President Aditya Thackeray who is currently on a statewide Jan Ashirwad Yatra.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18@vinivdvc

Updated:July 25, 2019, 8:14 PM IST

Mumbai: In a major jolt to Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), its Mumbai President Sachin Ahir switched camps and joined the Shiv Sena on Thursday.

With the Assembly elections in the state just months away, the development is a huge concern for NCP’s local leaders as Ahir, a former MLA from Worli, had been Sena’s principle opponent from the seat.

According to political pundits, Sena’s move was likely prompted by the party’s need to look for a safe seat for Yuva Sena President Aditya Thackeray who is currently on a statewide Jan Ashirwad Yatra.

Currently, Sena's Sunil Shinde is the sitting MLA from Worli, which is the heart of Mumbai’s lower middle class Marathi population. In the last election, Ahir had defeated Shiv Sena from the constituency.

While an official confirmation is awaited, speculations are rife that another senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal may also shift camps ahead of the Assembly elections.

Yuva Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray began his Jan Ashirwad Yatra in Jalgaon, with leaders of the Shiv Sena projecting him as the party’s candidate for Chief Minister in the upcoming assembly elections due in October

The Shiv Sena says Thackeray is undertaking the Yatra to thank the people who voted for the Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha elections, and to seek their blessings. He also hopes to win over those who did not vote for the Sena in the Parliament polls.

Sources also say that 29-year-old is being pushed by the Shiv Sena as its nominee for deputy CM's chair. Speculations about this started after Aditya's meeting with Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. Another name being suggested for this chair is that of senior Shiv Sena leader and current state cabinet minister Eknath Shinde.

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