The Congress on Tuesday suffered a huge jolt after one of its towering leaders in Maharashtra and former Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, quit the party. He submitted his resignation to the assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade.
Patil is all set to join the BJP ahead of this year’s assembly elections, scheduled in November. There are reports that at least close to a dozen more MLAs will follow him to join the ruling saffron party. The Congress leadership has, however, denied reports of more desertions from the party in the state.
Patil said that he was thankful to the central leadership for giving him opportunities and making him the LoP. He, however, hinted that there was no hope for the party in the state adding that ‘everyone in the party wanted to ebcome the chief minister.’
Patil had resigned as the LoP from before the Lok Sabha polls when the Congress did not field his son Sujay Vikhe Patil from Ahmednagar parliamentary seat, which had gone to the party’s ally, the NCP. Junior Patil contested the polls from Ahmednagar on the BJP ticket and won by a margin of nearly three lakh votes last month.
Some reports said that the senior Patil was likely to get a cabinet berth in the state government headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The Congress-NCP combined had won just five of the 48 seats in Maharashtra in the just-concluded parliamentary polls. The BJP won 23 seats, while the Shiv Sena won 18.