Cong will gain significantly in Maharashtra: Kharge 

Cong will gain significantly in Maharashtra: Kharge 

Congress Parliamentary Party leader Mallikarjun Kharge. PTI file photo

Congress will make significant gains in Maharashtra, leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said on Thursday.

"You will see the difference this time....we will make significant gains...and it is a realistic assessment," said Kharge, who is the AICC general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra.

On reports that leader of opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil may join the BJP during the Ahmednagar election rally of prime minister Narendra Modi, he said: "I have spoken to him (Vikhe-Patil) and he told me that he is not joining BJP."

Kharge, however, admitted that what had happened in Ahmednagar was a result of traditional political rivalry between Vikhe-Patil family and NCP president Sharad Pawar.

Last month, Vikhe-Patil's son Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil,  a neurosurgeon, resigned from Congress and joined BJP. In the seat-sharing formula between Congress and NCP, the Ahmednagar seat is the NCP's to contest.

This time around, Vikhe-Patil himself met Pawar and requested for a swap, however, the NCP supremo said no to it. However, since Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil wanted to contest - the only option for him was to join BJP. 

After Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil's exit, his father made it clear that he would not campaign for NCP candidate Sangram Jagtap.

In Maharashtra's political circles, the rivalry between Pawar and Vikhe-Patil's father Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil is well known. The latter was also a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.