In a major setback to the Indian National Congress party ahead of Maharashtra polls, party leader and former state minister Harshavardhan Patil joined the Bhartiya Janta Party on 11 September. The leader joined the party at an event in the South Mumbai in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Harshvardhan Patil has earlier expressed his disappointment and frustration with the National Congress party over the clarity of party’s stand in Indapur seat in Pune district. The leader targeted the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar. He said that the NCP chief has been unable to fulfill his commitment of allocating the Indapur seat in the upcoming Assembly elections.
The main reason for his exit is said to be the Indapur seat. Previously, Patil had supported the candidature of NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter, when she contested the Lok Sabha election from Baramati this year. The leader hoped that the NCP would return his favor by ceding the Indapur seat to the Congress in the coming Assembly polls.
Another reason that can be attributed to his exit is the decision of his close friend Ganesh Naik, who along with Patil, also joined the saffron party. On Wednesday, Fifty-five corporators of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) also joined Bhartiya Janta Party.
Now after his induction in the saffron party, Devendra Fadnavis has announced that Harshvardhan Patil will be the candidate from Indapur assembly seat. The Chief Minister said that he had waited for Harshvardhan Patil from a long time to join BJP.
Mr. Patil had been a four-time MLA from Indapur seat. In the 2014 Assembly election, he had lost the seat by a close margin to the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Dattatrey Bharne. Harshvardhan Patil had also served as a Minister of State for Agriculture in the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance government during 1995-99.
This is a second big blow to Congress party. Earlier, its senior leader, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, had also left the party after the Lok Sabha polls. Currently, he is now a Cabinet Minister in the Fadnavis government.