In a major setback for the NCP-Congress alliance in Maharashtra, Congress star campaigner and leader from Bhiwandi, Vishwanath Patil, has met with Uddhav Thackrey at Matoshree on Friday, with a wish to quit the Congress party and to campaign for the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in the upcoming Maharashtra Lok Sabha elections, as per sources.
Vishwanath Patil, president of the Kunbi Sena which had supported the Sharad Pawar led-NCP in the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, is reportedly disgruntled after he was set aside for the Bhiwandi constituency and preferred MP Suresh Taware over him to contest against BJP MP Kapil Patil.
This has been a continuing trend among the campaigners in the Opposition who have not been offered a ticket to contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. They have been mobilizing their forces against the Opposition or joined their rivals.
In the biggest upset before the Lok Sabha polls, on March 19, Senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil too had resigned as Maharashtra's Leader of the Opposition. Earlier on March 14, Senior Congress leader and MLA Kalidas Kolambkar too had quit the party and was reportedly considering to join the BJP. He was a seven-time MLA from Naigaon constituency in South-central Mumbai. He was previously with the Shiv Sena and had then switched over to Congress with Narayan Rane.
The first major setback to Maharashtra Congress had occurred on March 12, when Sujay Vikhe Patil, the son of senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, had joined the BJP after the NCP had refused Vikhe Patil's request to reserve the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat for his son Sujay.In the previous week, Sujay had held meetings with BJP leader Girish Mahajan.
On the same day, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that he had decided to not contest the Lok Sabha elections from the seat of Madha. The senior Opposition leader and Congress ally had earlier said that he would not contest the Lok Sabha elections but later changed his mind.