Rahul Gandhi accepts resignation of Maharashtra leader of Opposition Vikhe Patil

Anuradha Mascarenhas
Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.

A DAY before Congress president Rahul Gandhi's scheduled rally in Shirdi, his last in Maharashtra for the Lok Sabha elections, the party on Thursday decided to accept the resignation of Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil from his position as the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly.

Vikhe-Patil had submitted his resignation to the top leadership of the party immediately after his son, Sujay, quit the Congress to join the BJP, and contest Ahmednagar seat as a BJP candidate.

"He tendered his resignation some time ago and we had kept it on hold. But now the Congress president has decided to accept it," former chief minister and Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan told The Indian Express.

Vikhe-Patil continues to remain in the Congress, at least for the time being. Refusing to comment on the developments, he told The Indian Express that he would address a press conference in Ahmednagar on April 27.

Chavan said the party had received several complaints from its workers about Vikhe-Patil's conduct during the elections. These complaints have alleged that Vikhe-Patil had not turned out to campaign for Congress candidates despite being named as one of party's star campaigners in the state. Also, he has been accused of secretly campaigning for his son. Polls at Ahmednagar constituency were held on April 23.

"We will do our fact-finding and if required, take suitable action (against Vikhe-Patil)," Chavan said.

Chavan was in Shirdi on Thursday evening to campaign for Congress candidate Bhausaheb Kamble. Shirdi goes to polls on April 29. Rahul is slated to address his final rally in the state on Friday in Sangamner city, which is in Ahmednagar district but is part of Shirdi Lok Sabha seat.

Meanwhile, the Ahmednagar district Congress chief Karan Sasane also quit the party and told mediapersons that he would not work for Bhausaheb Kamble. Sasane had claimed that Kamble had made questionable comments against him during the campaign. He said he had submitted his resignation to Chavan.

"The entire Ahmednagar district Congress committee has been dissolved. We will not tolerate those who work against the party," Chavan said.