Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray’s confidant Milind Narvekar has become the focus of political developments following a claim by a senior minister that Narvekar is likely to join the Shinde faction in near future. Known as Man Friday of the Thackeray family for over a decade, Narvekar is regarded as a troubleshooter during any political crisis in the state. It was Narvekar who was rushed to Surat by Uddhav to persuade the rebels to come back to the Sena fold. Off and on, Narvekar has been in touch with both factions. A trustee of the Tirupati Balaji Trust, Narvekar and Shinde have met at least twice in recent times. Minister Gulabrao Patil, famous for his outlandish statements, told a public meeting that Champa Singh Thapa, who was always found by the side of Balasaheb Thackeray, had joined the Shinde camp and Narvekar, too, would be doing so soon. Chief minister Eknath Shinde’s visit to Narvekar’s residence for Ganesh Darshan had generated speculation that the latter was about to desert his boss Uddhav. The statement by Gulabrao Patil has revived it, especially since there are reports that Uddhav has appointed Ravi Mhatre in place of Narvekar as his personal secretary. However, the Sena has neither refuted nor confirmed such reports.