Maha: 18 Congress corporators in Bhiwandi-Nizampur join NCP

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(Eds: adds Congress' reaction) Mumbai, Dec 23 (PTI) As many as 18 Congress corporators in the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation in Maharashtra's Thane district joined the NCP on Wednesday.

The development is significant as the Congress and NCP are part of the ruling Shiv Sena-led coalition in the state.

Eighteen corporators including deputy mayor Imran Ali Mohammed Khan joined the NCP in the presence of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, the party's state unit president Jayant Patil and housing minister Jitendra Awhad at YB Chavan Centre here.

Last year, the Congress had won 47 seats in the Bhiwandi-Nizampur municipal polls and enjoyed majority in the 90-member civic house.

The party, however, lost the mayor's post to Konark Vikas Aghadi nominee Pratibha Vilas Patil, allegedly due to cross-voting.

State Congress general secretary Rajesh Sharma said the party had already initiated action against these 18 corporators after they cross-voted during the elections for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor.

Imran Ali Mohammed Khan had contested the election for thedeputy mayor's postrebelling against the party, Sharma said.

'So, the party had sent them notices asking why they should not be disqualified (as corporator). The matter is pending before the Konkan Divisional Commissioner,' he said.

Former Mira-Bhayandar Mayor Nirmala Savale and opposition leader Liaqat Shaikh also joined the NCP on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, five Shiv Sena councilors from Parner in Ahmednagar district had joined the NCP, creating a flutter within the ruling coalition. The councilors, however, returned to the Shiv Sena later. PTI ENM KRK KRK