In a major setback to the Congress party, former leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil has resigned from the party and as per media reports, he is likely to join the BJP along with 10 rebel Congress MLAs. The development comes amidst the speculations of the merger of Sharad Pawar’s NCP with the Congress party.
#Breaking | Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil resigns from Congress, to join BJP along with 10 other Congress rebel MLAs. TIMES NOW accesses list of Congress rebels. | @vaishnavi_1001 with details. pic.twitter.com/POm7gwGvGZ
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) June 4, 2019
With assembly elections just months away, the resignation from 11 Congress MLAs including Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil might prove to be catastrophic for the fortunes of the Congress-NCP alliance in the state who are evidently battered and weakened by the Lok Sabha poll drubbing. Former minister Abdul Sattar too quit the Congress and claimed that he is going to join the BJP. He has even alleged that the remaining Congress MLAs will too join the BJP.
The depressing results in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra had set panic among the leaders of Congress and NCP. There were also reports of state Congress leaders being unhappy over seat distribution and denial of tickets due to political compulsions while being in an alliance with the NCP.
Earlier, before the Lok Sabha elections, a disgruntled Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had urged the Congress leadership to offer Ahmednagar’s ticket to his son Sujay Vikhe Patil but the party didn’t acquiesce, nor did the NCP chief Sharad Pawar agreed to yield the seat to Congress. The bitter rivalry between the Pawar family and Patil family eventually resulted in Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil resigning as Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra assembly. His son, Sujay, joined the BJP and contested the seat of Ahmednagar on a BJP ticket, winning it on 23 May. Since then speculations were rife that Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil might soon follow his son’s footsteps.
The rebellion amongst Congress MLAs was brewing for some time now. Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil was also found canvassing for support for a Shiv Sena candidate in Shirdi during the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. Former chief minister Ashok Chavan had expressed his desire to quit from the Congress party during the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
It the claims are realised and Congress MLAs indeed resign en masse to join BJP, it might be a loss the party can never recover from. After the debacle of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the party is already in shambles.