In what has come as a major embarrassment for the Congress party, its Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra state assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, may resign from the post after his son Sujay jumped ship from the Rahul Gandhi-led party to join the BJP.
As per top Congress sources, there is tremendous pressure on Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil - the MLA from Maharashtra's Shirdi constituency - and he may resign from the post of Leader of the Opposition as a result.
The development follows the Sharad Pawar-led NCP spurning a request by Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil to leave aside the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat for his son. Sujay last week held meetings with BJP leader Girish Mahajan. Dilip Gandhi is BJP's sitting MP from Ahmednagar LS seat.
On Monday afternoon, Jamnagar (Rural) MLA Vallabh Dharaviya quit the party and tendered his resignation from the Assembly to Speaker Rajendra Trivedi ahead of the Congress Working Committee meeting in Gujarat.
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.
When asked if fear of possible defeat made him rethink of contesting from Madha, Pawar said,
"I have successfully faced 14 elections. Do you think a 15th will deter me?"
The Congress is also facing chaos elsewhere, namely in Gujarat and Punjab on account of leadership tussles and ticket wrangles. In Gujarat, Alpesh Thakor, who had admitted to being sorely tempted by an offer of ministership by the BJP-led Gujarat government, is miffed on account of Hardik Patel joining the Congress. Meanwhile, a three-way tug-of-war has broken out over ticket distribution for the Chandigarh seat between Manish Tewari, Navjot Kaur Sidhu and Pawan Bansal.