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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Shirdi polls a litmus test for Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil

Sujay quit Congress, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is contesting the Ahmednagar seat

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 30, 2019 17:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Lok Sabha Elections 2019,Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil
Maharashtra Transport Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil(Hindustan Times)

The Shirdi parliamentary seat will chart the political future of senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil. Vikhe-Patil’s resignation as leader of Opposition was accepted by the Congress high command on April 25, a party official said.

Post his relinquishing the post, he has been canvassing for Sadashiv Lokhande, Shiv Sena candidate and sitting member of Parliament (MP) who is pitted against the Congress candidate Bhausaheb Kamble for Shirdi seat.

Shirdi registered a polling percentage of 52.45 per cent till 5 pm on Monday.

After facing criticism for his dual approach of remaining with the Congress and canvassing for his son Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil, the senior Vikhe-Patil resigned from the post and is campaigning for Lokhande, his protege.

Sujay quit Congress, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is contesting the Ahmednagar seat.

Shirdi comprises six assembly segments-- Akole, Sangamner, Shirdi, Kopargaon, Shrirampur and Nevasa. The constituency is currently reserved for candidates belonging to the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category and has a total of 14.59 lakh voters.

The constituency was formed in 2008 and for the past two elections, the seat has been retained by the Shiv Sena.

Senior Congress leaders, including former chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan, who is also the state Congress chief, besides those of ally Nationalist Congress Party were upset after Vikhe-Patil refused to campaign for Congress-NCP candidates. The Vikhe-Patil family wanted to swap the Congress-held Ahmednagar seat with the NCP, but NCP supremo Sharad Pawar refused to part with the seat.

The political rivalry of Pawar and Vikhe-Patil’s father Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil, both vying for supremacy in the prosperous western Maharashtra, is old and well-known in the state.

First Published: Apr 30, 2019 17:24 IST

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