Seven Congress corporators join Shiv Sena

Thane/Mumbai, Jul 19: In a jolt to the ruling Congress in Maharashtra, seven party corporators from Thane city joined the Shiv Sena on Saturday. The corporators were led by Ravindra Phatak, the party strongman in the city and a staunch supporter of Industry Minister Narayan Rane.

Welcoming them to the party fold, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said: “We have not tried to break the (Congress) party in Thane, they have come on their own. Now, he needs to exercise restraint and join a party where he can get some peace,” Thackeray said referring to Rane.

Thackeray, however, added that he did not want to “spoil” his mouth by uttering his (Rane’s) name. Unfazed by the development, Rane said: “Anybody is free to go to any party”.

Thane legislator and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde criticised Rane, alleging that the minister has “lost his mental balance”. Besides Phatak and his wife, others who joined the Shiv Sena on Saturday are Deepak Vatkar, Raja Gawari, Kanchan Chindkar, Manpreet Kaur and Minal Sankhe. Rane has already announced that he would quit as minister on Monday.