Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil to join BJP

Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil to join BJP

Maharashtra Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. ANI photo

Much on expected lines,  veteran politician Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil on Tuesday resigned as Congress MLA - and is all set to join BJP. 
Some more Congress legislators are expected to follow suit.

Vikhe-Patil is regularly in touch with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and water resources minister Girish Mahajan.

Vikhe-Patil, a five-time MLA from Shirdi in Ahmednagar district,  met Maharashtra Legislative Assembly speaker Haribhau Bagade and formally tendered his resignation. 
His resignation had been accepted. 

A couple of months ago,  his son Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil had left Congress to join BJP and contest the Lok Sabha seat of Ahmednagar,  which he won. 

Because of this,  Vikhe-Patil Sr did not campaign in Maharashtra during the Lok Sabha elections and resigned as leader of the opposition. 

Before that,  he had sent an explanation to Congress president Rahul Gandhi and spoke to AICC general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge. 

Vikhe-Patil said that the situation had compelled him to resign. "The Congress high-command gave me the opportunity and made me the leader of the opposition," he said. 

In fact,  as per the customary seat-sharing formula,  the NCP had been contesting the Ahmednagar seat but since his son wanted,  he had approached NCP supremo Sharad Pawar but the latter had declined. As a matter of fact,  Vikhe-Patil's father and eight-time MP late Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil was an arch political rival of Pawar. 

"Things moved in such way that I had no option," he said,  adding that he had nothing against party's central leadership.

Meanwhile,  Abdul Sattar,  who was expelled from Congress for filing nominations from Aurangabad - that he later withdrew - said that eight to 10 Congress MLAs are in touch with BJP. "The state leadership has failed," said Sattar.

Vikhe-Patil is expected to be included in the government as a minister in the impending expansion of council-of-ministers.

However,  state Congress president Ashok Chavan told a news channel that he had spoken to some Congress MLAs who are unhappy.  "They are not quitting," he said. 

The monsoon session of Maharashtra legislature is commencing on 17 June and before that, a new leader has to be appointed by Congress,  NCP and allies for better floor coordination.

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