Mumbai: Boosting the party’s prospects in Vidarbha region, former Maharashtra minister Sanjay Deshmukh rejoined the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) along with another Thane leader, Sanjay Ghadigonkar, party officials said here on Thursday.
The duo joined the party in the presence of ex-Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who tied the ‘Shiv-Bandhan’ on their wrists on Thursday afternoon in the presence of many others who have joined the party in the recent weeks.
Deshmukh was a two-time MLA from Digras in Yavatmal, from where the erstwhile party strongman Sanjay Rathod had joined the rebel group led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, which is now known as Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena.
Rathod, currently the FDA Minister, represents the Digras seat and seasoned politician Deshmukh’s entry into Sena (UBT) could pose a tough challenge to him in the next elections and also in the Vidarbha region, now under the Bharatiya Janata Party’s influence.
Welcoming them into the party fold, Thackeray urged them to strengthen the party in the eastern Maharashtra region and said that he would soon visit the famed Pohradevi Temple, an important pilgrimage centre for the Banjara community.
Speaking on the occasion, Thackeray said that people from different backgrounds, caste and religion are joining his party as they are unhappy with what happened in June (the toppling of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government).
“They are telling us to give a tough fight, they will support us as this will be an attempt to save democracy in the country. Whatever may happen to me or the party, it’s for you to decide. But what will happen to the country, will there be democracy — that’s the question we all must ask,” said Thackeray.
Deshmukh started his political innings with the erstwhile Shiv Sena in 1998 when Rathod was the party’s district chief. He went against the party to win the 1999 Assembly polls as a rebel, and repeated the feat in 2004.
Though both Rathod and Deshmukh were close friends once, they are now staunch political rivals in opposing camps though the latter commands a hold in various local bodies and organisations.