Pimpri, 9 January 2017 – In a major jolt to the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP ) before the upcoming Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporation (PCMC) elections, former Pimpri Chinchwad mayor and senior NCP leader Azam Pansare joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) around Sunday midnight.
Pansare joined the saffron party in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, MLA Laxman Jagtap and Bhosari MLA Mahesh Landge, who had also switched sides from NCP recently.
With Pansare in their fold, the BJP has won over a major Muslim leader in the state. BJP may appoint him on ‘good’ post in any government body.
It is believed that Pansare took the decision to join BJP because he was getting cold shoulder from the NCP leaders.
Pansare had earlier left the NCP and joined the Congress, just before the general elections in March 2014. His exit from the party was a big blow to the Pimpri Chinchwad unit of the NCP during the election. Apparently, Pansare was unhappy because of his political rivalry with MLA Laxman Jagtap. It is said that when Pansare had contested for the Maval Lok Sabha seat in the 2009 general elections on NCP ticket, Jagtap had clandestinely worked against Pansare. The former mayor was defeated by Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Babar in the newly carved constituency of Maval. Since then, the political rivalry between the two had increased.
In the 2014 general elections, NCP was keen to nominate Laxman Jagtap for the Maval Lok Sabha seat. Pansare was unhappy with the decision saying that those who had worked against the party were being considered for NCP nomination. Meanwhile, Jagtap refused NCP nomination and instead joined the Peasants and Workers Party of India. He contested on a PWPI ticket in Maval but was defeated by Shiv Sena candidate Shrirang Barne. Jagtap had later joined the BJP. Pansare had joined back NCP in October 2014.