The Shiv Sena suffered another setback as at least 30 ex-municipal corporators joined Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's group, here on Friday.
The move has come as a jolt to the former CM Uddhav Thackeray, ahead of the upcoming civic elections in Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation and other major cities in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and the state.
The development came a day after 67 ex-corporators of Thane Municipal Corporation met Shinde - who was also the Guardian Minister of Thane in the erstwhile MVA regime - and pledged to work together under his leadership for the progress of the city adjoining Mumbai.
After this, many Shiv Sena leaders, corporators, Shakha Pramukhs and other level of activists are contemplating similar action which could pose severe hurdles for the party in the civic elections in Kalyan-Dombivali, Ulhasnagar, Mira-Bhayander, Vasai-Virar and other townships on the fringes of Mumbai.
The latest development came a week after Shinde was sworn in as CM and Bharatiya Janata Party's Devendra Fadnavis took oath as Deputy CM after the MVA government collapsed on June 29.
There are ominous signs that many other Sena elected law-makers, party leaders and office-bearers at various levels may shift allegiance to the Shinde group in the coming weeks.
The Shinde camp claims that several Sena MPs are in touch and could join them soon even as the Shiv Sena Chief Whip in Lok Sabha Bhavana Gawali - MP from Yavatmal-Washim constituency, was removed on Wednesday and replaced by Thane MP Rajan Vichare.
The Sena is pinning hopes on the Supreme Court verdict of July 11, after which the party would chart its future course of action even as Thackeray has launched a massive interaction and communication with the grassroots workers.