Ex-Shiv Sainik new Maharashtra NCP chief

Mumbai, June 15 (IANS) Former Maharashtra minister Bhaskar Jadhav, an ex-Shiv Sena leader, was Saturday elected president of the Nationalist Congress Party’s state unit, replacing Madhukar Pichad.

Jadhav, 56, was one of the six ministers recently dropped from the Prithviraj Chavan cabinet in a reshuffle of the NCP nominees in the Democratic Front government. He was minister of state for urban development.

Pichad resigned as state unit chief after he was inducted as a minister.

A four-time legislator, Jadhav had left Shiv Sena in 2005 to join the NCP, giving the latter a boost in the coastal Konkan region.

Last February, Jadhav had raked up a controversy by hosting a lavish wedding for his son and daughter in Chiplun, in Ratnagiri in the coastal Konkan region.

Over 100,000 people were invited and a plush 500,000 square feet marquee erected for them, while 22 helipads were constructed for guests to reach the venue and a lavish 60-course dinner was laid out for them.

NCP president Sharad Pawar had publicly blasted the opulent wedding at a time when the state was facing its severest water scarcity in four decades.

Meanwhile, NCP legislator and youth leader from Thane, Jitendra Awhad has been appointed the new working president of the state NCP.

The announcements, including the setting up of a 15-member core committee to oversee state affairs, were made following a NCP meeting held here Saturday as a fore-runner to next year’s Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections.

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