Pravin Gaikwad rejoins Congress (File Photo)
With just two weeks left for the General Elections 2019, leaders of several political parties have been shifting sides. Keeping in mind the vote-bank politics, political biggies are trying to keep the big names under their banner in a bid to shield support from the public. The latest such instance is Sambhaji Brigade member Pravin Gaikwad, who joined Congress in the presence of Mallikarjun Kharge, Ashok Chavan and KC Venugopal in Mumbai on Saturday.
"Mumbai: Maratha leader Pravin Gaikwad joins Congress in the presence of Mallikarjun Kharge, Ashok Chavan and KC Venugopal," the news agency ANI reported.
Mumbai: Maratha leader Pravin Gaikwad joins Congress in the presence of Mallikarjun Kharge, Ashok Chavan and KC Venugopal pic.twitter.com/ByOZEmGq3H— ANI (@ANI) March 30, 2019
The development comes a day after Gaikwad, irked over delay in facilitating his entry into the party, criticised the Congress for ignoring social activists like him. Gaikwad also withdrew himself from the race of Congress candidature as the process of decision making for Pune seat was delayed.
"While Bollywood actress Urmila Martondkar got a ticket within hours of her entry into party, activists like him have been ignored by the party. Therefore, I have decided to withdraw myself from the race for ticket," Gaikwad alleged on Thursday.
Gaikwad, who is a close associate of NCP president Sharad Pawar, serves as the head of Sambhaji Brigade, an extremist Maratha organisation based in Maharashtra, which demands reservation for the Maratha community and inclusion of Marathas in Other Backward Caste (OBC) category along with free education for Maratha children and registered marriages instead of religious ceremonies.
The outfit was also involved in multiple agitations including vandalism of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, attack on Waghya's Statue on Raigarh Fort and Ram Ganesh Gadkari bust vandalism among others.