Maharashtra Congress leader Vikhe Patil’s son joins BJP even as party sees exodus in Gujarat

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First Published 12, Mar 2019, 4:42 PM IST
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Maharashtra Congress leader Vikhe Patil son joins BJP party sees exodus Gujarat
Highlights

Sharad Pawar's NCP and the Congress sealed a deal in Maharashtra for the national election on a 22-26 basis, leaving the Ahmednagar seat to the NCP. Sources said Patil senior lobbied hard with Pawar to allow his son Sujay Vikhe Patil to contest from that seat, but an unrelenting Pawar ensured that Patil junior takes the final call of quitting the Congress

Mumbai: The exodus from the Congress seems to see no end. A day after a high-profile exit in Gujarat, now Maharashtra leader of opposition’s son Sujay Vikhe Patil has joined the BJP. This has left his father and the party embarrassed. Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil’s son jumping the ship comes at a crucial time when Maharashtra will see Parliamentary and Assembly elections in a month’s time.

Sujay, the son of senior Congress leader Radhakrishna, was reportedly upset with the party. He wanted to be fielded from Ahmednagar which is considered the stronghold of the Vikhe Patil family. But he didn't have a chance, as the seat went to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), after the seat sharing agreement.

Also read — Blow to Gujarat Congress: 2 MLAs join BJP

Sharad Pawar's NCP and the Congress sealed a deal in Maharashtra for the national election on a 22-26 basis, leaving the Ahmednagar seat to the NCP. Sources said Patil senior lobbied hard with Pawar to allow his son to contest from that seat, but an unrelenting Pawar ensured that Patil junior takes the final call of quitting the Congress.

Though there was opposition from within the BJP state unit about his induction, the party was mindful of his chances of winning the seat, given it is a family stronghold. And that ultimately weighed heavy on the decision of taking him on board.

If Maharashtra saw a high-profile exit, so did Gujarat. The Congress MLA, Vallabh Dharaviya from Jamnagar Rural defected to the BJP on Monday, adding to the embarrassment of the party. What made the party red-faced was the entire top leadership, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, was in the state, for the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, when this high profile exit took place.

Dharaviya is the fourth MLA to quit the party in a span of fewer than seven days and switch to the BJP. With his resignation, the Congress has been reduced to 71 seats in the Assembly. The Congress had won 77 seats in the 2017 Assembly elections.

Former Congress MLA Parsotam Sabariya also joined the ranks of the BJP. “I am joining the BJP to develop my constituency," said Sabariya soon after joining the saffron bandwagon.

Earlier this month, Manavadar MLA Jawahar Chavda too gave his resignation to Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi.

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