Hours after his resignation as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP from the Lok Sabha, Udayanraje Bhosale, a descendant of Shivaji Maharaj, on Saturday joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of several top leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party working president JP Nadda and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in New Delhi.
Taking to Twitter, Shah confirmed the news along with a photograph of Bhosale, surrounded by top BJP leaders. "Shri Udayanraje ji, a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who surrendered himself to protect the country and religion, today joined the BJP. On behalf of crores of BJP workers, I welcome Udayanraje ji to the BJP family," Shah, who is also the party's president, wrote.
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Earlier in the day, Bhosale, the NCP MP from Satara, submitted his resignation to Speaker Om Birla in order to join the BJP. Bhosale, who draws his political influence due to his descendance from Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji's family, said he agreed with the policies pursued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will work for the development of Maharashtra as a BJP leader.
Speaking at Bhosale's induction ceremony in the national capital, Shah also expressed confidence over the victory of BJP-led alliance in the upcoming Assembly elections with three-fourths majority in the state. The Union minister said it was a matter of happiness for his party that a descendent of the Maratha king has joined it and asserted that Bhosale's presence will help it in the upcoming assembly elections.
The BJP, which had won 122 of the total 288 seats in the 2014 elections, will emerge stronger and its alliance will win three-fourths seats this time, Shah said. In a related note, the Shiv Sena and a few smaller parties are part of the saffron alliance in the state.
Hailing the efforts of the Fadnavis dispensation in Maharashtra Shah said the state government has worked for the state's all-round development and "restored" its pride in its five-year rule. Shah said the BJP and its alliance will receive even bigger support in the Assembly polls after it had decimated the Congress-NCP alliance in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
On the occasion, Fadnavis also voiced his party's happiness at Bhosale's decision to join it. He noted that Bhosale had lauded the Modi government's move to nullify Article 370, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav, who is his party's in-charge for the state polls, were also present at the event. Maharashtra Assembly Elections are due to be held in October 2019 to elect the 288 members of state Legislative Assembly.