In a major setback for the Congress party and Rahul Gandhi days after the debacle in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil on Tuesday has resigned as Congress MLA from Maharashtra's Shirdi constituency. He has submitted his resignation to Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha.
This development has come amid the speculation of him quitting the Congress party and joining BJP.
Furthermore, sources have told Republic that other Congress leaders namely Abdul Sattar, Kalidas Kolambkar and Jaykumar Gore have also resigned from their posts as MLAs, along with Vikhe Patil. As per sources, few Congress MLAs are in touch with and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis's close aid & Minister Girish Dattatray Mahajan. They are likely to join the BJP party soon, sources have told.
Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had earlier resigned as the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in the runup to Lok Sabha elections.
Notably, earlier, Irrigation Minister in Maharashtra government Girish Dattatray Mahajan had also said that Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil will join BJP in the first week of June. Patil met Mahajan at his residence on Tuesday, May 28.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Mahajan had said: "After Narendra Modi's oath on May 30 as the Prime Minister of the country for the second time, Patil will join the BJP."
Meanwhile, amid the speculation over troubles in the Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar on Saturday dismissed speculation that his party was likely to merge with the Congress.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance managed to dominate Maharashtra by winning 41 seats out of total 48 seats, while the Congress-NCP alliance continued its bleak performance by winning only 5 seats in the state.
Ahead of the 2019 elections, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patils' son Sujay Vikhe Patil had joined the BJP. During the recently-conducted elections, Radhakrishna had campaigned for his son Sujay, who contested the polls from Maharashtra's Ahmednagar seat on a BJP ticket and won it against NCP's Sangram Arunkaka Jagtap. Vikhe Patil had sought the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat for his son in the election. However, the Sharad Pawar-led NCP which is an ally of the Congress spurned his request, following which Sujay Vikhe Patil joined the BJP.