Vikhe hits out at Pawar over remark on late father

Vikhe hits out at Pawar over remark on late father

Senior Maharashtra Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. PTI file photo

Senior Maharashtra Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil on Thursday said NCP chief Sharad Pawar's comments on his late father were "unwarranted".

Addressing a press conference here, he also described as personal the decision of his son Sujay to join the BJP.

The Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly said since Pawar despised his family so much, he would not campaign for the NCP candidate from Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat.

He also said he will not step down as Leader of Opposition and will discuss this with the party high command.

The Congress and NCP have reached a pre-poll alliance for the next month's Lok Sabha polls.

Pawar recently alluded to how he ensured the defeat of Balasaheb Vikhe Patil (in an election in the early 1990s) and that he also remembered the lawsuit the late Congress leader filed against him.

Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil is the son of Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, a former Union minister, who died in 2016.

"Sharad Pawar's comment against my father was unwarranted and uncalled for. If Pawar despises my family so much, I would rather not campaign for the NCP candidate from Ahmednagar," he said, adding it was unfair to comment on someone who was no more.

He said he will campaign in other parts of Maharashtra, as decided by his party. "I will abide by the party high command's decision," he added.

His son Sujay Vikhe Patil on Tuesday joined the BJP in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who said he will recommend his name for the Ahmednagar LS seat to BJP leadership.

Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha constituency was not the core issue of the seat-sharing talks between his party and the NCP.

"We wanted both the parties to win more seats, hence we held talks on whether some seats can be exchanged. Sujay's candidature was not the only issue," he said.

He also dismissed the possibility of his son's candidature on BJP ticket affecting the overall performance of Congress and NCP nominees in the state.

He received support from state Congress president Ashok Chavan and former MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre, who said targeting him over his son's decision was unfair.

Ahmednagar district has two LS constituencies--Shirdi (SC) and Ahmednagar. Before delimitation, these were called Ahmednagar-South and Ahmednagar-North respectively. Balasaheb Vikhe Patil represented the latter seven times.

On Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat asking him to demonstrate his loyalty to the party, Radhakrishna Vike Patil said, "Does he hold a higher position than the high command? I am answerable to the high command and I will do so. I will also follow their instructions. I will soon speak about his loyalty as well." 

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