Mumbai, Sep 16 (IANS): Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday welcomed Marathi playback singer Devyani Bendre, prominent folk-dancer Surekha Punekar, and others into the Nationalist Congress Party fold.
Former Leader of Opposition in the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Babanrao Gavas, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena women leader Manisha Khaire and others like Ashokrao Savne, Prabhakar Shetye, Sanjay Tripathi, Suresh Bagwe, Nitin Patil and Omkar Gavas also joined the NCP.
Welcoming them in the presence of NCP Secretary Shivajirao Garje, Pawar said that the new entrants would be joining various programmes and activities of the party, including related to their specialised fields like glamour, films, arts, culture, and literature.
Pawar also lauded the works of Punekar - regarded as the 'Lavani Queen' (Marathi folk-dance) and Bendre, who has been a playback singer since her teens and worked with top singers of the Indian film industry. Both have performed in India and abroad for many years.
"Since the time of the late Chief Minister Y.B. Chavan, and even later CMs, the state government has always promoted artistes from different fields irrespective of their religion or caste. With the guidance of Sharad Pawar Saheb, we are continuing the tradition," he said.
He added that all the newcomers should work to build the party and its different frontal organisations and strive to get maximum NCP candidates elected for the upcoming civic bodies and cooperative sector elections in the state.