Mumbai

Senior BJP leader in Vidarbha to join Congress

In what could be termed a blow to the BJP in Vidarbha, senior party leader and former Minister Sunil Deshmukh is set to join the Congress on June 19. Mr. Deshmukh’s re-entry into the Congress has been cleared by the party high command.

Former State Youth Congress president, Mr. Deshmukh had switched to the BJP in 2014 after the party repeatedly neglected him over former President Pratibha Patil’s son Raosaheb Shekhawat. Mr. Deshmukh was Minister of State (Finance) in the 2004 Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government. Despite that he was denied ticket from the Amravati Assembly seat. The Congress gave the ticket to Mr. Shekhawat. Mr. Deshmukh then contested as an Independent and lost the election.

In 2014, he joined the BJP and defeated Mr. Shekhawat and since then he was the party’s prominent face in Vidarbha. In 2019, he lost to the Congress candidate, Sulbha Khodke, and later he was sidelined in the BJP.

Mr. Deshmukh’s re-entry to the Congress comes days after party State president Nana Patole announced that the party was ready to contest the polls independently. The move is seen as the party’s plan of expansion and regaining the lost space. A week ago, Mr. Patole toured Amravati district where the final talks with Mr. Deshmukh seem to have held.

According to a senior party leader, Mr. Deshmukh will join the party on June 19, the birthday of Rahul Gandhi, in the presence of senior leaders and party in-charge H.K. Patil.


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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 2:02:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/senior-bjp-leader-in-vidarbha-to-join-congress/article34842321.ece

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