Vikhe Patil to join BJP; may get cabinet berth
Following the Lok Sabha election results, senior Congress leader and former Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, is finally set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Vikhe Patil’s aides said at least two other Congress MLAs are also expected to switch loyalties along with him.
On Tuesday, Vikhe Patil met senior BJP leader and water resources minister Girish Mahajan. Later talking to the media, Vikhe Patil said he “will join BJP,” but refused to give details. “I met Mahajan to thank him for my son Sujay’s victory in the Lok Sabha election from Ahmednagar,” said the Congress leader. Sujay Vikhe Patil had joined BJP in March and later won the election as a BJP candidate. Since then, Vikhe Patil has been staying away from Congress party’s affairs and had also resigned as Leader of Opposition. His resignation was accepted last month.
According to BJP insiders, Vikhe Patil may also get a cabinet berth, and is negotiating for a lucrative portfolio.
Congress’s Sillod MLA Abdul Sattar, who has been suspended for anti-party activities, said, “We are in touch with Vikhe Patil, who will take a decision over the date (of joining BJP). It could be in the first week of June.” Congress MLA Kalidas Kolambkar, a former aide of Narayan Rane, has also announced that he is joining the BJP.