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Senior Congressman Vikhe-Patil’s son throws a googly, says ‘no compulsion to remain in Congress’


Sujay Vikhe-Patil, the son of senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Maharashtra Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, raised eyebrows on Wednesday after he stated that was under no compulsion to remain in the Congress merely because of his father’s affiliation with the party.

“There is no such rule that I must remain in the Congress just because my father is in that party,” he said, speaking in Shirdi today.

In the febrile pre-poll milieu of political volte-faces and ever-shifting alliances, the junior Vikhe-Patil’s statement has lent further credence to speculation abounding since the past year that he might throw in his lot with the BJP in the forthcoming general election.

Mr. Sujay Vikhe-Patil further said that he had the right to choose his own political party regardless of his father’s political affiliations.

“Even if my father is in the Congress, I can pick my own political party. I will stick by my decision even if my family is opposed to it,” he said.

Mr. Sujay Vikhe-Patil is an eager candidate for the Ahmednagar South Lok Sabha seat, and has stated his intent on contesting the election from this constituency irrespective of whether the Congress gives him a ticket or not.

Besides Ahmednagar South, Shirdi is the other Lok Sabha constituency in Ahmednagar district.

In addition, Sujay is also the chairman of the Dr. Vitthal Rao Vikhe-Patil cooperative sugar factory while his father is one of the directors of this establishment.

In December 2017, BJP legislator Shivaji Kardile, who is on friendly terms with the Vikhe-Patil family, had lavished praise on the younger Vikhe-Patil at an event and had even issued an open offer to Sujay Vikhe-Patil to join the saffron party immediately.

At the time Mr. Kardile, who was arrested briefly in April this year in connection with the murders of two Shiv Sena leaders in Ahmednagar, had guaranteed Sujay Vikhe-Patil of a ticket from the Ahmednagar South LS constituency if he joined the BJP.

This is not the first time that the BJP has been associated with the Vikhe-Patil family.

In March 2017, at a press conference in Pune, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil’s estranged older brother, Ashok Vikhe-Patil, had accused the former of being in cahoots with the BJP and of illicitly grabbing an educational institute in Ahmednagar.

Mr. Ashok Vikhe-Patil had even alleged that Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil could only become the LoP in the Assembly because of the ‘blessings’ of the BJP.

Radhakrishna’s father, veteran Congressman Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil too had flirted briefly with the saffron party, joining the BJP for a short while in 2001.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 11:02:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/senior-congressman-vikhe-patils-son-throws-a-googly-says-no-compulsion-to-remain-in-congress/article25854404.ece

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