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Congress’s Vikhe Patil whose son joined BJP refuses to step down as Opposition leader in Maharashtra assembly

Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil whose son Sujay joined the BJP to contest elections from Ahmednagar constituency on Thursday refused to resign as Opposition leader in Assembly and blamed ally NCP chief Sharad Pawar for the entire episode.

lok sabha elections Updated:
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Mumbai
Congress leader Sujay Vikhe Patil joined BJP in the presence of Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP president Raosaheb Danve.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil whose son Sujay joined the BJP to contest elections from Ahmednagar constituency on Thursday refused to resign as Opposition leader in Assembly and blamed ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief, Sharad Pawar, for the entire episode.

The Congress had sought the seat from the NCP, but the latter refused to part with it. Vikhe Patil, who addressed the media after participating in a party meeting, said he won’t be campaigning for the NCP candidate in Ahmednagar.

Vikhe Patil said that he has not offered to resign from his post and the further course of action about his role in the party would be decided by the party high command. Breaking his silence two days after Sujay’s induction into the BJP on Tuesday, Vikhe Patil said his family and him were hurt by Pawar’s remarks about his father and the remarks were turning point in the entire episode.

“Pawar stooped to a new low while reminding everyone about the old rivalry between my father and him. He has even failed in following the dharma of alliance of trying to win more and more seats. His remarks, which came when the talks for the seats between the two parties were on, hurt our family owing to which my son decided to join the BJP,” he said.

Pawar, while announcing that his party would not concede Ahmednagar seat to Sujay, had on Monday reminded Vikhe about an old case. Radhakrishna’s father Balasaheb Vikhe Patil had filed a case against the then Congress MP Yashwant Gadakh in 1991, challenging his election.

Pawar, who was made a party for alleged violation of code of conduct, was defence minister of the country and had lost his right to vote. Later, the Supreme Court had given him respite.

Vikhe Patil said that Pawar should not have referred to the old episode as his father was no more and he himself had requested Pawar to leave the bitterness behind.

“Pawar has hatred in his mind for my family and our role will be looked at suspiciously if we participate in the campaign for the NCP. I am meeting the party high command tomorrow and the decision about my role in the party will be taken as per direction from my leaders,” he said.

Meanwhile, NCP state chief Jayant Patil said, “There was nothing offensive about Pawarsaab’s statement. He only had referred to the defeat of Balasaheb Vikhe Patil in 1991. He did not intend to hurt anybody.”

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