As Maharashtra nears Assembly polls the political scene in the state seems to witness shifting allegiances. Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule said on Thursday that her father and party president Sharad Pawar was bound to feel hurt when the leaders who were with him for decades leave the party. Ahead of state Assembly elections, several NCP leaders, including then Mumbai NCP chief Sachin Ahir, quit the party recently and joined the ruling BJP or the Shiv Sena.

Sule told reporters that the leaders who have now quit gained prominence because of the NCP. “Sharad Pawar’s life has been marked by huge struggle. Out of this struggle he built the party. Therefore when the people who were with him for forty years leave, he is bound to feel sad,” Sule said.

She alleged that those leaving the party were afraid that they would be embroiled in some or other inquiry if they did not join the ruling parties. Sule also referred to the death of a 19-year-old woman who had been allegedly gangraped in Mumbai in the first week of July.

“A young woman who was raped in Mumbai died at a hospital in Aurangabad. She was from Jalna. Today the Chief Minister was there, but he made no mention of the incident. It shows that the government is insensitive,” she said.

“To condemn this, the NCP will take out a morcha tomorrow,” Ms Sule added. The NCP MP also promised to take part in an agitation to rid Thane of toll booths. The BJP and Shiv Sena did not keep their poll promise of removing toll booths, she said.

NCP MLA Dileep Sopal announced he will soon join the Shiv Sena and contest the forthcoming polls. NCP MLA Pandurang Barora, who represented Shahapur Assembly seat in Palghar district also joined the Shiv Sena, which is an ally of the ruling BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra.

Chief Minister of Maharshtra Devendra Fadnavis virtually extended an invitation to NCP’s Satara MP and Maratha royal Udayanraje Bhosale to join the BJP. Bhosale also lavished praise on the chief minister for carrying out development works in Satara.

The MP had also accused the previous Congress-NCP government of creating “obstacles” in the progress of his constituency. Bhosale, who is the descendant of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, is one of the NCP’s four MPs from Maharashtra.

Aam Aadmi Party will also be contesting the upcoming elections. The state in-charge of the party Durgesh Pathak said the party will fight elections on issues like drought, floods, farmers’ distress, and economic slowdown among other things. The party wishes to be a viable alternative option for the people of Maharashtra.