In a major setback to the Congress party, the leader of opposition in Maharashtra assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil’s son Sujay Vikhe Patil has joined the BJP just a month before the assembly elections. According to the sources, the move comes after Sujay’s request to contest the polls from Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat was rejected by the Congress’ alliance partner in Maharashtra NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
Congress Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had reportedly met Pawar many times over the last few days regarding the request to field his son from Ahmednagar seat. “The Ahmednagar seat has always been our seat. We even defeated late Balasaheb Vikhe from there and I had to face a legal case following that. There was no point in taking that seat away from us. He(Sujay) could have joined our party but no option of relinquishing that seat,” Pawar has reportedly said.
Yesterday, Pawar had declared that he will not be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and had instead decided to launch his grand nephew Parth from Maval constituency.
With relatives of senior Congress leaders abandoning the party and joining the opposition, panic has set among Congress loyalists and questions are being asked of Congress on their preparedness to take on the mighty BJP.
Congress/ Opposition leader in assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil’s son joins BJP. This is the status of Congress in Maharashtra. If you can’t convince your son how will you convince voters? #LokSabhaEections2019
— nikhil wagle (@waglenikhil) March 11, 2019
However, speculations are rife that BJP was trying for both the Patil father-son duo to cross over and join them. It has been a difficult time for Congress to keep its flock together as many of its leaders are deserting it ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In Gujarat, Congress MLA Vallabh Dharaviya had yesterday quit Congress and joined BJP. Prior to him, Congress MLAs from Manvadar, Unjha and Halvad Dhrangadhra had resigned and joined the BJP. In Telangana, 4 Congress MLAs have defected to join TRS.