Senior Congress leader and former leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil on Friday met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, raising speculation about him joining the BJP before the Assembly elections in the state.The same evening, another Congress MLA, Jaykumar Gore, met state Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan. According to sources, both Congress leaders have expressed their desire to join the BJP.
While Vikhe-Patil represents Loni Assembly seat in Ahmednagar region, Gore represents Man Assembly constituency in Satara.
Vikhe-Patil told The Indian Express, “I have already resigned from the post of Leader of Opposition. I will soon spell out my next move.”
A highly-placed source in the BJP said, “After the Lok Sabha election results were announced, we are receiving feelers from several Congress and NCP MLAs. But we will not take any hasty decision. Anybody willing to join BJP is welcome, but it should be unconditional.”
Fadnavis, who remained tight lipped on the developments, said “just wait and watch”.
During the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, Vikhe-Patil’s son Sujoy had switched from Congress to the BJP. He won the election from Ahmednagar seat on a BJP ticket.
Ranjit Mohite Patil from NCP had also joined the BJP before the Lok Sabha polls. His father Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, a former deputy CM and NCP leader, is likely to join the BJP shortly, according a family member.
Another defection during the parliamentary elections was Congress leader Ranjeetsinha Naik Nimbalkar from Satara region, who won the election from Madha on the BJP ticket.
A state Congress general secretary said, “MLAs are worried with the state of affairs in the party.”
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