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A tale of three Chandrakant Patils amid Maharashtra political drama

There was a buzz that a chartered plane with Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil on board had landed in Surat to take the three remaining MLAs affiliated to Eknath Shinde, but it turned out that it was Chandrakant Nimba Patil – the Independent MLA from Maharashtra.

Written by Kamaal Saiyed | Surat |
Updated: June 24, 2022 10:50:22 am
Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Bacchu Patil, Gujarat BJP president Chandrakant Raghunath Paatil and Maharashtra Independent MLA Chandrakant Nimba Patil. (File)

At 3 pm on Wednesday, amid the unprecedented political crisis gripping the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA)-led Maharashtra government, there was a buzz that a chartered plane with Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil on board had landed in Surat to take the three remaining MLAs affiliated to the rebel Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde to join his flock in Guwahati.

After raising his banner of revolt against the Maharashtra Chief Minister and Sena president, Uddhav Thackeray, Shinde along with over 20 rebel party MLAs had shifted from Mumbai to a hotel in Surat in the BJP-ruled Gujarat early on Tuesday. After camping in Surat, where more rebel Sena MLAs joined them, they subsequently moved to a a five-star hotel in Guwahati in Assam, another BJP-ruled state, on Wednesday.

As the word spread about the Maharashtra BJP chief’s chartered flight on Wednesday afternoon, local TV channels began flashing the news of his landing in Surat. That would have evidently defined a significant role of the BJP in the Sena rebellion engineered by minister Shinde. But, subsequently, it turned out that this Patil was not the Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Bacchu Patil but actually Chandrakant Nimba Patil – the Independent MLA from Maharashtra’s Muktainagar constituency, who hails from Jalgaon.

The Independent MLA Patil had arrived in Surat to fly to Guwahati from the city along with four other MLAs – including Yogesh Kadam and Gulabrao Patil from the Sena and Independents, Gopal Dalvi and Manjula Gavit.

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Evidently, the mix-up happened because of a name. And, to knot things further, the entire drama was unfolding in Surat, the bastion of yet another Patil: Chandrakant Raghunath Paatil, the BJP’s Gujarat unit president.

A look at the three Patils and their role in the continuing Maharashtra political crisis:

Chandrakant Bacchu Patil, Maharashtra BJP president

Chandrakant Bacchu Paatil, the 63-year-old Maharashtra BJP chief, is an MLA from the Kothrud constituency. As the political crisis deepened in Maharashtra on June 21, he said that the state BJP MLA, Sanjay Kute, would meet Shinde, who was then at a Surat hotel along with other rebel party legislators, in his “personal capacity”. While he distanced the saffron party from the Sena turmoil, he asserted that if the BJP receives any proposal from the Shinde-led Sena faction to form a government, the party would “definitely consider it”.

“It’s too early to say anything, we’re currently waiting and keeping an eye on the situation. Neither Eknath Shinde has sent proposal to BJP for govt formation nor BJP has sent any proposal to him,” he had then added.

Chandrakant Raghunath Paatil, Gujarat BJP president

Chandrakant Raghunath Paatil, 66, has been the Gujarat BJP president from July 2020. A three-time MP from the Navsari constituency in south Gujarat, he has been a veteran BJP leader. Notably, he is a Maharashtrian himself, who hails from Maharashtra’s Jalgaon.

In the midst of the Maharashtra political drama playing out in Surat, while Paatil was not seen in action, he practically ran the show from behind the scenes. From the time the rebel Sena MLAs landed in Surat, the man who was supervising the entire logistics – their transfer from the Surat airport to the five-star Le Meridien hotel, where rooms were booked for their stay – was Paresh Patel, a close aide of C R Paatil and the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC)’s Standing Committee chairman. Paresh was said to have “taken charge of the situation” to ensure that the breakaway group of Sena MLAs was smoothly flown out of Surat to Guwahati. Paatil’s Navsari constituency encompasses a significant part of Surat.

Chandrakant Nimba Patil, Independent MLA, Maharashtra

Chandrakant Nimba Patil, 48, is an Independent MLA from the Muktainagar constituency in Jalgaon, who came to Surat on Wednesday morning to be flown to Guwahati, along with two rebel Sena MLAs and two Independent MLAs, to join the Shinde-led group there.

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