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Ahead of May 28 Bhandara bypoll, Shiv Sena’s unit chief jumps ship to BJP

Patle said he had worked very hard for the last three years for the Sena but was denied a ticket for the Lok Sabha bypoll from Bhandara-Gondia

mumbai Updated: May 19, 2018 00:00 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Hindustan Times
A file photo of a Shiv Sena member waving the party flag.
A file photo of a Shiv Sena member waving the party flag.(HT PHOTO)

In a major setback to the Shiv Sena in Vidarbha, its Bhandara unit chief Rajendra Patle quit the party to join its ally the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha bypoll on May 28 and general elections next year.

Patle met party chief Uddhav Thackeray last Friday in Nagpur during his one-day tour in the region and reportedly told him it would be “suicidal” for the Sena if it contests the next Lok Sabha and Assembly elections on its own.

“The party has four Lok Sabha members from the region — Ramtek, Yavatmal, Amravati and Buldhana – and it will not win a single seat if the party contests the elections on its own without BJP’s support,” he reportedly told Thackeray and urged him to reconsider his decision.

Patle joined BJP in Nagpur in the presence of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. A former BJP leader, Patle had quit BJP when he was denied an Assembly ticket in 2014. He contested from the Tumsar Assembly seat on a Sena ticket but lost.

While joining the BJP, Patle said he had worked very hard for the last three years for the Sena and formed a base for the party in Bhandara. But he said that despite an assurance, the Sena did not give him a ticket for the Lok Sabha bypoll from Bhandara-Gondia. Patle joined the BJP on Wednesday.

The Republican Party of India (Athawale) faction is also supporting BJP candidate Hemant Patle from the Bhandara-Gondia constituency, which has a sizeable number of Dalit voters. Patle alleged that the Sena was neglecting the Vidarbha region and Bhandara district. “I will support Hemant,” he said.

Rajendra Patle’s induction into the BJP comes days after the Sena inducted Shrinivas Wanga, son of late BJP MP Chintaman Wanga, into the party and fielded him from Palghar for the Lok Sabha bypoll there.

The bypolls were necessitated due to the resignation of BJP rebel Nana Patole from Bhandara-Gondia, who later joined the Congress and death of Chintaman Wanga, the Lok Sabha member from Palghar.

First Published: May 19, 2018 00:00 IST

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