Other States

Blow to Congress as Prithviraj Chavan aide to join BJP

MLC Anandrao Patil has been party’s Satara district president for 18 years

The Congress is in for another blow in western Maharashtra as MLC Anandrao Patil, the right-hand man of senior Congressman and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, is said to be on his way to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Mr. Patil, a long-time aide of Mr. Chavan, has been the Congress’s Satara district president for nearly 18 years, besides heading a number of important posts in the Satara unit, and other positions like the vice-chairman of the Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation.

He has called a meeting of his supporters on September 13 in Karad, where he is expected to announce his decision of joining the BJP.

It is believed that Mr. Patil, a Governor-nominated MLC, is expected to join the ruling party in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis when the BJP’s Mahajanadesh Yatra reaches Satara.

According to sources, Mr. Patil, a former MLA, met with Mr. Fadnavis on Monday through the offices of BJP leader and sugar baron Atul Bhosale, Mr. Chavan’s arch political rival. An aide close to Mr. Chavan told The Hindu, “While he has been a loyal worker for many years, he had been giving strong hints of disaffection even before the Lok Sabha polls and had been planning to join the BJP for the past two months.”

Mr. Patil completes his tenure as MLC in June 2020.

“While the term of a district president is usually 10 years, Mr. Patil, through the good offices of Mr. Chavan, had got an extension. Mr. Chavan had also consistently promoted him to a number of responsible posts,” the aide said, accusing the BJP of playing a cold political game of “buying” opposition leaders.

While his defection is said to pose problems for Mr. Chavan, who is the MLA from the vital South Karad Assembly constituency, the senior Congressman is unperturbed and confident that he still retains a loyal base in his constituency.

In the 2014 Assembly elections, Mr. Chavan won a stiff contest against formidable opponents both on the outside (the BJP’s Atul Bhosale) and within his party in the form of seven-time MLA Vilas Patil Undalkar, who contested as an Independent.

However, equations in Satara district as a whole have changed dramatically since the BJP-Shiv Sena’s Lok Sabha sweep and the seemingly unstoppable exodus of Congress-NCP MLAs and important leaders in western Maharashtra.

The BJP have already inducted two sitting opposition MLAs: the NCP’s Shivendraraje Bhosale of Satara and Congress MLA from Maan, Jaykumar Gore, a former supporter of Mr. Chavan.

Harshavardhan Patil to join BJP

Meanwhile, senior Congressman Harshavardhan Patil, upset with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) over the Indapur Assembly seat, is expected to formally join the BJP on Wednesday in the presence of Mr. Fadnavis and BJP State president Chandrakant Patil.

Mr. Patil, a former State minister and four-time MLA from Indapur, had lost by a narrow margin to the NCP’s Dattatrey Bharne in 2014 when the Congress and NCP contested separately.

Despite this, he had supported NCP MP Supriya Sule and campaigned to ensure her victory from the Baramati Lok Sabha seat in the hope that the NCP would back his candidacy for the Indapur segment, which is part of the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency.

However, the NCP’s disinclination to pick him over Mr. Bharne has riled the Congressman.

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Printable version | May 24, 2020 11:29:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/blow-to-congress-as-prithviraj-chavan-aide-to-join-bjp/article29386877.ece

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