Mumbai, Sep 13 : After several weeks of speculation, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)'s three-time MP from Satara, Shrimant Chhatrapati Udayanraje P. Bhosale - a direct descendent of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj - announced that he will return to the Bharatiya Janata Party after over a decade, at a function in New Delhi on Saturday.
His aides released a colourful message on social media proclaiming that Bhosale would join the ruling party in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil.
The move, seen as a huge blow to the NCP, came after Bhosale called on Pawar along with Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Council Dhananjay Munde and former minister Shashikant Shinde and explained his position in the matter.
Several senior NCP and Congress leaders appealed to Bhosale to reconsider his decision, while Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana chief Raju Shetti met and urged him to continue with the NCP.
Undeterred, Bhosale said in a tweet Friday: "Till now, the people have showered love and blessings on me and hope this will continue with me forever." The 13th descendent of the great Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Bhosale, 53 was elected MP from Satara thrice - in 2009, and also during the 'Modi-waves' of 2014 and 2019, an indicator of his popularity in the region.
Earlier, he had been elected a legislator and served as the Revenue Minister for a year in the erstwhile Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government between 1995-1999.
However, shortly before the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, he had quit the BJP, following certain differences with state leaders to join the NCP and always remained among the most trusted aides of Pawar.
Interestingly, when he a minister, he had been accused in the murder case of NCP activist Sharad Leve in 1999, but was later acquitted by the courts.