MUMBAI: Congress leader in Maharashtra and former Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil resigned from the party on Tuesday. While he is all set to join the BJP, speculation of a major exodus from the Congress is in the air.
Before resigning, Vikhe Patil addressed a meeting of party MLAs at his official residence here on Tuesday. An MLA said around 10 MLAs are likely to quit in the days to come.
Refuting the claim, state Congress president Ashok Chavan said he had spoken to some of the MLAs who are said to be “unhappy”.
“They are not quitting,” he said.NCP spokesperson, Nawab Malik, on the other hand, criticised Vikhe-Patil and said Vikhe-Patils are always on the side of the ruling party.
The Congress has 42 MLAs in the 288-member lower house of the state legislature.
The other major opposition party is the NCP. This means that with the resignation of more Congress MLAs, the NCP can stake a claim on the Leader of the Opposition post.
“The situation in the state Congress has compelled me to resign. It had become suffocating for me,” Vikhe-Patil said after tendering his resignation.
He had already resigned from the post of Leader of Opposition.
A couple of months ago, Vikhe-Patil’s son Dr Sujay had left the Congress to join the BJP and contest the Lok Sabha seat from Ahmednagar, which he won.
But, the son’s candidature from the rival party put Vikhe-Patil senior in a tricky situation and he did not campaign for the party candidates during the polls.