Former Shiv Sena leader Raj Thackeray, who had announced that he would be forming a new party, has received a boost with around 2,500 Shiv Sainiks led by a corporator quitting the Sena and joining him.
The Sainiks, led by two-term corporator Dilip Lande, on Sunday dashed off letters to Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, stating they were quitting the party.
After Raj announced his rebellion on Novemmber 27 against the Sena leaders, whom he termed as 'clerks' running the party, Lande was among the first to publicly side with him.
"We are relieved after quitting the Sena. We will follow Raj Thackeray and do whatever he says," Lande said, adding that he expects 3,500 more Sena workers from Kurla area to quit the party and join Raj. Kurla was a Sena stronghold during the 1990s, but went to the Congress in the last two assembly elections.
Meanwhile, former vibhag pramukh of south-central Mumbai, Bunty Mashelkar, a supporter of Raj, told PTI on Monday that 'several Sainiks from south-central Mumbai would soon quit the Sena and join Raj's new party'.
"The process of Sainiks resigning from the party has begun and nobody can stop it now," he said.
Earlier, when Raj, who begins his statewide tour later this month, announced his decision on December 18 to quit Sena and form a new party, he had said he did not want Sena MLAs, MPs and corporators to break away and join him.