Pune: Crisis stared at the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday with Ranjitsinh, son of former Deputy Chief Minister Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, preparing to join the BJP shortly.
In a telling tweet on Tuesday, Ranjitsinh expressed anguish and sought the “guidance of the party workers” who have supported the Mohite-Patil family for decades amidst a tussle with his 75-year-old father to grab the NCP Lok Sabha ticket from Madha constituency.
“You tell me what and how to do… Should we keep tolerating, or hit back for our future, progress and development? You decide, and it will be my decision,” Ranjitsinh said, calling supporters for a crucial meeting at the family home in Akluj, Solapur.
On Monday, Ranjitsinh was closeted in a late-night meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ trusted ‘Man Friday’, Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan.
NCP sources gloomily predict they expect the ‘inevitable’ sooner rather than later.
This will be the second major shock for the NCP which last week tottered on the brink over the candidature for Maval Lok Sabha seat, torn between the NCP President Sharad Pawar and his grand-nephew Parth Ajit Pawar.
Finally, Pawar senior quietly opted out of the race and Parth was nominated for Maval before the matter subsided.
In the case of Mohite-Patil family, the NCP has not yet announced any candidate for Madha in the two lists declared so far, creating a mild panic among both father and son with the latter (Ranjitsinh) now practically standing at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) doorsteps.
If Ranjitsinh switches loyalties to the BJP and is fielded from Madha, and the NCP chooses to retain its sitting MP and his father Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, it could witness an unprecedented father-son electoral contest in Maharashtra.
For the Congress-NCP alliance, it will be a third big setback during the pre-poll season.
Only last week, Sujay, son of Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, walked over to the BJP and is likely to get a party ticket from the Vikhe-Patils’ stronghold Ahmednagar.
At that time, the NCP had reacted sharply, prompting a retaliatory threat by Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil to boycott campaigning for the NCP in Ahmednagar.