Vikhe Patil scion moves to BJP as NCP denies seat
Sujay will be inducted in the ruling party on Tuesday; his father Radhakrishna to remain in Congress for now
Dr Sujay Vikhe Patil, son of senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, decided to switch over to the BJP after his father's formal requests to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for vacating the Ahmedanagar Lok Sabha seat yielded no result. Sujay will be inducted in the ruling party on Tuesday and drafted as a candidate from the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat.
Last week, mid-day had reported about Sujay's intention and a series of meetings he held with BJP leader Girish Mahajan to decide the course of action. The Vikhe Patil scion will replace BJP's sitting MP Dilip Gandhi in Ahmednagar, where he had staked claim to a seat traditionally fought by the NCP. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will preside over his welcome party on Tuesday. Sources close to the family said Radhakrishna would remain in the Congress for now.
Apart from the prolonged feud between the Vikhe Patil and Pawar families, the NCP's game plan of weakening the Congress in the district is believed to be the reason for turning down Radhakrishna's request.
Sujay's BJP candidature would certainly impact the Congress's neighbouring seat Shirdi (reserved), where the family's influence might make the ruling party even stronger. The Vikhe Patils have quit Congress earlier as well. Radhakrishna's father Balasaheb, a legendary sugar cooperative leader and eight-time MP, was part of the Shiv Sena for some time and served as a union minister as well. His feud with Sharad Pawar prompted his shift. Radhakrishna too was a Sena minister in the saffron alliance's first government in power in 1995.
Mumbai, Thane vote on April 29
Six segments in Greater Mumbai and four constituencies in Thane districts will go to polls on April 29. Voting in Maharashtra's 48 seats will be held in four phases. The first phase on April 11 will have seven seats; second phase on April 18 will have all 10 seats; third phase on April 23 will have 14 seats and the fourth phase on April 29 will have 17 seats.
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