In a setback to Uddhav Thackeray, former Maharashtra health minister Deepak Sawant on Wednesday (15 March) joined the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena.
Sawant joined the Sena in the presence of chief minister Shinde.
Sawant was an MLC of the united Shiv Sena and was a cabinet minister for public health from 2014 to 2018 in the Devendra Fadanvis-led government.
He was dropped from the cabinet and denied a ticket for the legislative council election by Uddhav Thackeray in 2018.
Sawant, a three-time member of the state legislative council, was welcomed by chief minister Eknath Shinde at the event, saying he was “compulsorily retired” by the Thackeray-led faction.
“We will benefit from his experience,” Shinde said, reports Hindustan Times.
Sawant is the second prominent leader to join the party this week, following Bhushan Desai, the son of Subhash Desai, a veteran Shiv Sena leader and trustee of Prabodhan Prakashan, which owns the party mouthpiece Saamana.
At the event, Shinde praised Sawant's extensive work in reducing malnutrition in tribal areas of Maharashtra and using telemedicine to provide healthcare to people in remote areas.
(With inputs from PTI)
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