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3-min read

There Were Enough Hints, We Failed to Read Them, Say NCP Insiders on Sachin Ahir’s Sudden Exit

A senior party leader claimed that Ahir, who was the chief of the NCP's Mumbai unit, wanted to join the BJP but that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had redirected him to the Shiv Sena.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18@vinivdvc

Updated:July 25, 2019, 11:26 PM IST
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There Were Enough Hints, We Failed to Read Them, Say NCP Insiders on Sachin Ahir’s Sudden Exit
NCP leader Sachin Ahir joins the Shiv Sena on Thursday in the presence of of its president Uddhav Thackeray and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray. (Credit: Twitter@ShivSena)
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Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) insiders have said that Sachin Ahir’s exit from the political outfit, after all, was not so sudden, but accepted that they had failed to read the obvious hints.

A senior NCP leader claimed that Ahir, who was the chief of the party's Mumbai unit, had wanted to join the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), but Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had redirected him towards the Shiv Sena.

“When he had gone to meet the chief minister for a housing issue last week, I had gauged it then itself that he would leave the party. We had even told him that he should let someone else go for the meeting, but he had insisted he would go alone,” a senior NCP leader told News18.

Earlier in the day, 47-year-old Ahir, joined the Sena in the presence of its president Uddhav Thackeray and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray.

NCP leaders are now being able to join the dots as to why there was a growing communication gap for some time. “He brought in his separate social media team in the party. For a while, he was not proactive. There was a lack of communication during important internal discussions. We didn’t realise it then,” said another party leader.

“We feel backstabbed. The party had trusted him. He was made a minister by Saheb (NCP founder-president Sharad Pawar) at the age of 26. He was a minister for 15 years because of the party’s trust in him. If he had even some morality, he would have tendered his resignation and joined the new party,” said Nawab Malik, another senior functionary.

“Ahir has ditched us. It is a big jolt to us. News came that he has joined the Shiv Sena, but not a single party worker joined along with him. Why is it so?" asked Malik. "Today, he has said that he is joining the Shiv Sena to fulfil the dreams of Balasaheb Thackeray. Till yesterday, he was saying that he would fulfil Pawar saheb’s dreams.”

When asked about Ahir’s statement that he will not divide the NCP but work towards strengthening the Sena, Malik said, “He has no guts to break our party. Nobody is supporting him today. So if nobody else is with him, how can he challenge us? He has left our party to fulfil his own ambitions. He doesn’t have faith in his own ability to win and so joined the Shiv Sena. But the Sena has taken an MLA who can’t win, who has no self-confidence.”

NCP’s Maharashtra chief Jayant Patil told News18 from Kolhapur that Ahir left the party because he wasn’t confident of winning the elections this time. “What do you do when someone feels defeated? You can’t put confidence in a man,” he said.

“The party will actually grow there now. He was a minister for 15 years. He ran the party in Mumbai for 15 years. But the party never grew there under him because he had a fear psychosis. The situation he created is over now. The party will grow,” Malik said.

Several party workers and leaders in Ahir’s constituency of Worli also expressed relief. “He didn’t want anyone else to grow. He made sure that nobody except him was seen. Many old workers and leaders in the constituency had been sitting at home because of him. They have good reach. They will now participate in the party’s activities. It is actually a boon for the party. Our curse is gone,” said Rajendra Wagle, a party worker from the constituency.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife that Chhagan Bhujbal, former Maharashtra chief minister, may also be on his way out from the NCP to the Sena. However, he has denied the allegations.

“Neither have I approached them nor have they approached me. There is no grain of truth in such speculation,” Bhujbal told News18.

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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