Ganesh Naik could not de-Modify people of Navi Mumbai so he instead “Modi-fied” himself. And many believe that one of the factors that made him take this decision is to counter the growing clout of Thane Guardian Minister Eknath Shinde; who according to party sources has become a friend-turned-foe for Ganesh Naik. This had reflected in one of the strongest statements made by Ganesh Naik during the last Lok Sabha polls when in a complete fit of rage, he had said that he will not spare anyone who touched him.
Many believe the message was to Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde. Ganesh Naik’s switch to BJP on the other hand has organically filled the vacancy of a leadership in Thane district. Though BJP has a strong voter base in cities of Thane and Navi Mumbai, the absence of a leader to challenge the growing might of Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde has been on BJP’s agenda for a long time. The entry of Ganesh Naik fills that void for the BJP. Sources reveal that the BJP will give Thane city seat of sitting BJP MLA Sanjay Kelkar to Ganesh Naik to contest the polls, thereby making the face off for Thane district a direct one between Ganesh Naik and Eknath Shinde. It also means that in all its probability, Belapur constituency will now be vacated by Ganesh Naik.
GANESH NAIK V/S EKNATH SHINDE CONTEST TO BE A DIRECT WAR IF SAFFRON ALLIANCE BREAKS
While Ganesh Naik and Eknath Shinde will have to follow the dharma of alliance in the assembly polls, speculations have begun that BJP and Shiv Sena might break the alliance and the mass rehabilitation of NCP and Congress leaders in BJP and Shiv Sena is indicative of this. If the alliance does break, the contest of supremacy will turn into a direct war of showing the other down between Ganesh Naik and Eknath Shinde.
NAIK’S DREAM TO AVENGE 2014 DEFEAT TO REMAIN A DREAM
Ever since his defeat in the last assembly polls, Ganesh Naik, his corporators, confidantes and well-wishers were counting each day of the last five years for the assembly polls of 2019 to avenge their leaders’ defeat against BJP’s Belapur MLA Manda Mhatre. This is now going to remain a dream forever.
DEVENDRA FADNAVIS’S MASTERSTROKES TURNS FOES INTO FRIENDS
The bigger picture however has established one fact. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is the man with the Midas touch. His strategies have emerged the biggest winner. And the changing political equations in Thane and Navi Mumbai reflects this. Where NCP President Sharad Pawar failed, CM Devendra Fadnavis has succeeded. From Ganesh Naik, Airoli MLA Sandeep Naik, former MP Sanjeev Naik, former Mayor Sagar Naik, Shiv Sena’s Vijay Chougule and Vijay Nahata to Mathadi leader Narendra Patil and MLA Manda Mhatre all have become saffron leaders under one umbrella that will be controlled by the CM himself, while overtly ambitious party workers like Ramchandra Gharats and M K Madhavis have been shown their place in the political eco-system of Navi Mumbai.
NAIK’S DREAM RUN TO BJP IS AT COST OF LOSING COMPLETE POWER TO TAKE ALL PARTY DECISIONS
The changing of loyalties from NCP to BJP comes a cost for the Naiks. In NCP, the party President Sharad Pawar gave complete freedom to Ganesh Naik to take decisions of the party functioning as per the will of Ganesh Naik. This is bound to change in a national party like the BJP, where discipline, protocol, hierarchy and even age of leaders matter at end of day.
The message from BJP and Shiv Sena top leadership is clear. Be it the incoming leaders from other parties or leaders of their own party, they now have to win to remain in the game. Whether it is Ganesh Naik versus Eknath Shinde or Sandeep Naik versus Vijay Chougule or Vijay Nahata versus Manda Mhatre : at all levels of political race in the state, leaders perform or perish.
Zeba Warsia – NMTV News