Kripashankar Singh, too, dumps Congress

Updated: Sep 11, 2019, 07:43 IST | Dharmendra Jore

While Singh said he hadn't decided next step, former Congress leader Harshwardhan Patil will be inducted into BJP today

Kripashankar Singh, too, dumps Congress
Kripashankar Singh

The exodus from Congress continued on Tuesday as two senior leaders Kripashankar Singh and Harshwardhan Patil quit and are set to join the ruling parties. While Pune district leader and ex-minister Patil's entry into the BJP has been fixed for Wednesday in Mumbai, Singh said he hadn't decided the side for switching over though insiders said the BJP was Singh's first choice, and if approved by high command, his admission should happen on Wednesday itself or later on. Singh may also go to Sena if BJP doesn't accept him. Singh has been in touch with the BJP, especially CM Devendra Fadnavis, for the past couple of years, clearly indicating his next move. However, the court cases he had been facing delayed favour from the BJP.

He said on Tuesday that he quit the Congress because he was upset over its stand on the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir. "I don't wish to stay any longer in the Congress because I respect a popular public sentiment over the Kashmir issue," said Singh who submitted his resignation to the party in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge. Vice-presidents of Mumbai Congress, Manjitsingh Manhas and Zakir Ahmed, however, said that Singh's departure would not impact the party. "We think that a bad element has gone out from our party. We're sure that any party that takes Singh would not benefit from him."

Seat refusal trigger

In a repeat of the pre-Lok Sabha polls defection of a Congress leader because of the Nationalist Congress Party's refusal to part with the seat, Congress heavyweight from Pune district Harshwardhan Patil has decided to join the BJP. In a similar denial, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil's son Sujay had gone to the BJP and won a local Lok Sabha seat. The father followed the son after the elections and was made a minister in the Fadnavis government.

Patil was promised Indapur which he had lost to NCP in 2014 for contesting the October polls on a condition that he would work for getting Supriya Sule elected from Baramati. Sule scored a good lead from Indapur, one of the Assembly segments of Baramati, paving way for Patil to ask NCP to fulfill his demand. But since NCP started campaigning for its sitting MLA, a furious Patil struck a deal with BJP. The Congress and NCP began damage control after Patil announced his decision to supporters last week. Congress said the NCP was willing to accommodate Patil in Indapur, but the former minister had made up his mind. He went incommunicado and refused to take calls from Congress high command.

Patil's induction is slated a couple of hours before NCP veteran Ganesh Naik, his elder son Sanjeev and 55 Navi Mumbai corporators are taken into the BJP fold. Patil's daughter Ankita who won a Pune zilla parishad by-election two months ago might also join the party later.

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