After days of speculation, finally, former Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly and senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil has resigned from the party.
On Tuesday, along with his supporters, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil met Maharashtra assembly speaker Haribhau Bagade & submitted his resignation as MLA, delivering a big jolt to the Congress party just before the upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections. While speaking to Republic TV, Vikhe Patil said that he had been sidelined in the Congress party. Despite being the Leader of Opposition, Congress party never took him into confidence before taking any major decision during the Lok Sabha elections, he put forth. Slamming the state leadership of Ashok Chavan, Vikhe Patil said there are many other MLAs in the Congress who are similarly disgruntled with the party.
Though he did not speak anything against the central leadership of Congress, Republic TV has accessed the full scoop behind his resignation from the Congress, which has everything to do with Vikhe Patil being 'hurt' by Rahul Gandhi.
Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil wanted a ticket for his son Sujoy from the Ahmednagar seat. Congress & NCP had decided that they will contest Lok Sabha elections in an alliance. As per their pact, the seat went into the NCP's quota.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to the machinations that led to Rahul Gandhi hurting Vikhe Patil is the 4-decade-old enmity between Sharad Pawar & Radhakrishna's father Balasaheb Vikhe Patil. Sharad Pawar & the elder Vikhe Patil were arch-rivals and contested hard against each other's candidates in elections. Initially, Sharad Pawar was not ready to leave the Ahmadnagar seat but after a series of talks with Congress leaders, the NCP chief finally agreed to give this seat for Vikhe Patil's grandson Sujoy, but with one condition - Sharad Pawar told Congress leaders that Sujoy should contest on NCP’s symbol. This was seen as a political 'masterstroke' by Sharad Pawar, following the alliance dharma & also humiliating his rival Vikhe Patil family in one fell swoop.
After the talks of seat-sharing between both Congress-NCP got over, leaders of Maharashtra Congress went to Delhi to meet Rahul Gandhi. Mallikarjun Kharge, Ashok Chavan & Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil were present in the meeting with Rahul Gandhi. According to sources, during the meeting, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil requested Rahul Gandhi to give the Ahmadnagar seat to his son Sujoy. Rahul asked Ashok Chavan about the seat-sharing for the Ahmadnagar seat, to which Ashok Chavan replied that it comes under NCP's quota and that the party was ready to leave it for Sujoy. Chavan also told him about Pawar's condition. After Ashok Chavan's answer, Rahul Gandhi allegedly told Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil to tell his son to contest on NCP's symbol- the watch.
Rahul Gandhi's words hurt Vikhe Patil who had expected that even though Sharad Pawar had put a condition for the Ahmadnagar seat, Rahul Gandhi will speak to the NCP chief and tell him to withdraw his condition. But none of that happened. Despite Vikhe Patil being the LoP of Congress in Maharashtra assembly, Rahul Gandhi did not take the requisite action. Contesting on NCP's symbol would have been a humiliation for Radhakrishna's family, and hence, without saying a word he left from the meeting, and also subsequently, the party.