IN an embarrassment for the Congress, Sujay Vikhe-Patil, son of Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, joined the BJP in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Welcoming him, Fadnavis said his party’s parliamentary committee would recommend Sujay’s name for Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat. While the NCP has been contesting the seat since 1999, Sujay has announced that he wants to contest the seat. The NCP, however, has refused to leave aside the seat for its ally Congress.
Sujay (37), a neurosurgeon, said: “I have taken a conscious decision to join the BJP after the Congress-NCP combine sidelined me. I have been working painstakingly for Ahmednagar for three years. The NCP’s decision not to concede one seat to the Congress has hurt me.”
He added, “I didn’t want to see my father begging for my candidature. I am an independent professional. I have the freedom to decide my life and career… My supporters put pressure on me to take such a decision.”
He also said, “I subscribe to BJP’s developmental and nationalism agenda… I admire Prime Minister Narendra Modi because of the reforms he has introduced and his policies for social welfare, which are identical to the politics of the three generations of Vikhe-Patils,” said Sujay.
Sujay’s decision has exposed the cracks within the Congress-NCP alliance. Leaders from both parties conceded that Tuesday’s development was the failure of the party leaderships to put a mechanism in place to defuse such differences.