In a significant political development, Maharashtra’s Soil and Water Conservation Minister Shankarrao Gadakh joined the Shiv Sena here on Tuesday.
Gadakh, the founder-president of Krantikari Shetkari Party (KSP), was welcomed into the party fold and tied the ‘Shiv-Bandhan’ on his wrist by Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, in the presence of several senior party leaders.
An Independent MLA from, Nevasa in Ahmednagar district – Gadakh, 50, was the first unattached legislator to support the Shiv Sena after the 2019 Assembly elections.
Till now, he was the only Independent MLA who was a Minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government with the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress.
With this development, the Shiv Sena’s effective strength has increased to 57 MLAs in the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
A senior Sena leader said that the entry of two-time MLA Gadakh to the party would have an impact in the politics of the prosperous Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.
Gadakh began his political career as a Youth Congress campaigner in 1995, but parted ways later to launch the farmers outfit, KSP — which is now dissolved — and fought local elections.
The 4-year old party has already had made an impact with 5 members in the Ahmednagar Zilla Parishad, 12 members in the Nevasa Panchayat Samiti and 9 councillors in Nevasa.
Popular as the ‘Panidar Aamdar’ in his region, Gadakh is known for his good work during drought-like conditions in and around Nevasa.