Maharashtra Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Dileep Sopal on August 26 announced he will soon join the Shiv Sena and contest the forthcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls.Mr. Sopal, who represents Barshi Assembly constituency in Solapur district, served as a State Cabinet minister in the previous Congress-NCP coalition government.A close aide of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray also confirmed that Mr. Sopal will be joining the saffron party. Last month, NCP MLA Pandurang Barora, who represented Shahapur Assembly seat in Palghar district, joined the Shiv Sena, which is an ally of the ruling BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra.On August 25, rumours were doing the rounds that the NCP’s former Minister and heavyweight leader from Konkan region, Bhaskar Jadhav, may join the Sena. The speculation gained ground after Mr. Jadhav, a former Shiv Sainik and sitting MLA from Guhagar constituency in Ratnagiri district, visited Mr. Thackeray’s residence ‘Matoshree’ in Bandra here and held a closed door meeting. However, Mr. Jadhav later said, “These are just rumours. I will remain with the NCP.” On August 24, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis virtually extended an invitation to NCP’s Satara MP and Maratha royal Udayanraje Bhosale to join the BJP. Mr. Bhosale had accused the previous Congress-NCP government of creating “obstacles” in the progress of his constituency.He is one of the NCP’s four MPs from Maharashtra. Recently, his cousin and NCP’s Satara MLA Shivendrasinh Bhosale deserted the Sharad Pawar-led party and joined the BJP along with other legislators like Sandip Naik and Vaibhav Pichad.The State Assembly polls are due in September-October.