New Delhi: In a big setback to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, party’s MP from Satara, Udayanraje Bhosale, will join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday, in the national capital.

The leader is a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

The development comes amid a section of NCP leaders having deserted the party in recent days and just days before the state is scheduled to go to polls, the dates for which the Election Commission (EC) is likely to announce in the next few days.

The 53-year-old Bhosale, who also contested and won the 2009 and 2014 General Elections, had recently praised Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for carrying out developmental works in Satara. Days later, the Chief Minister ‘returned the favour’ saying that he’d be happy if Bhosale joins the BJP. In fact, the NCP MP had also accused the previous Congress-NCP government of creating ‘hurdles’ in the progress of his constituency.

Bhosale, is one of four NCP MPs from Maharashtra, will follow his cousin and NCP’s Satara MLA Shivendrasinh Bhosale in joining the saffron party. Other NCP leaders who recently joined BJP also include former state minister Ganesh Naik and legislators Sandip Naik and Vaibhav Pichad.

Recently, senior Congress leader in Maharashtra, Kripashankar Singh, too, jumped ship to the BJP.

Maharashtra is currently governed by a BJP-Shiv Sena coalition, which was formed after the 2014 Assembly elections in which the former emerged as the single-largest party, but didn’t cross the majority mark. It later joined hands with the Sena, which won the second-highest number of seats, to cross the majority mark and form the government.