The Congress may soon lose the status of being the largest Opposition party in the state and with that its claim over the post of LoP.
Mumbai: After the resignation of Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil from the post of Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Legislative Assembly, there is suspense as to who will be the next LoP. The Congress may soon lose the status of being the largest Opposition party in the state and with that its claim over the post of LoP.
As per the rules, the LoP is from the largest Opposition party. Congress has 42 MLAs while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has 41 MLAs. However, at least four Congress MLAs, including Mr Vikhe-Patil, are on their way out of the party. All of them may officially quit the Congress after Lok Sabha election. However, experts feel that the NCP may not challenge the Congress for the LoP post as state Assembly elections are just six months away and both parties need to show unity till then.
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said that the events that led to Mr Vikhe-Patil's resignation were “unfortunate”.
“All the developments that took place up to Mr Vikhe-Patil’s resignation were unfortunate. There was a dispute with the NCP over one Lok Sabha seat because of which the LoP had to resign. His son wanted to contest from Ahmednagar and the NCP was not ready to give the seat to Congress. I feel the things could have been handled differently to avoid such bitter experiences. When you are in an alliance, you have to make some compromises. The dispute over one seat should not have become so big,” Mr Chavan said.
The Congress leader added that Mr Vikhe-Patil has served the Congress for many years, but this time he had to choose between family and the party. “It seems this time he has given priority to family,” he said.
Asked who would be the next LoP, Mr Chavan's answer was guarded. “Who will be the LoP is the question that will come later. First, we will have to see if the Congress remains the largest Opposition party,” he said.
While Mr Vikhe-Patil has resigned from the post of LoP, he still remains a Congress MLA. However, there are speculations that the leader, who is openly campaigning for BJP and Shiv Sena candidates in Ahmednagar and Shirdi constituencies, will join the BJP soon. Another MLA from Mumbai, Kalidas Kolambkar, is also campaigning for the saffron alliance.