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Veteran Maharashtra leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, said to be on his way to the BJP, formally quit the Congress today. The buzz is that around 10 lawmakers are likely to follow him, in view of the party’s abysmal performance in the Lok Sabha elections — a move that might prove a huge setback for the party ahead of the assembly elections in the state later this year.
Mr Vikhe Patil’s son, Sujay Vikhe Patil has already crossed over and ahead of the Lok Sabha election, the former leader of the opposition was even seen campaigning for him.
“I didn’t even campaign for the party during Lok Sabha elections. I don’t doubt the High Command, they had given me an opportunity by making me the Leader of Opposition. I tried to do good work but situation made me resign,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The Congress has said they do not expect any other leader to defect to the BJP.
“The BJP is trying to poach the Congress or NCP MLAs. But I don’t think it will happen, we are being alert,” the party’s senior leader Ashok Chavan was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
The party’s expelled leader Abdul Sattar however, told reporters that eight to 10 Congress legislators are in touch with the BJP.
“Disappointment with the Congress leadership in the state and their way of functioning are the reason behind our decision. The state leadership is destroying the party here,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The Congress managed to win only one of Maharashtra’s 48 Lok Sabha seats, compared to the 41 won by the BJP-Shiv-Sena combine.