NCP jolted as ex-Maharashtra Dy CM's son joins BJP

MUMBAI:

Ranjitsinh V. Mohite-Patil, son of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, was formally welcomed into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis here on Wednesday.

Ranjitsinh joined the BJP along with several of his family members - barring his father - and scores of supporters from the NCP.

He is likely to be given BJP ticket to contest from the Madha Lok Sabha constituency in his home district of Solapur.

The move came after a huge show of strength at his hometown Akluj on Tuesday evening where hundreds of supporters goaded him to contest the Lok Sabha polls on BJP symbol.

His father and former Deputy Chief Minister Vijaysinh, 75, also gave his consent and blessings to Ranjitsinh in his future political endeavours, attracting a mention by Fadnavis at Wednesday's welcome function in Mumbai.

"Maharashtra politics is incomplete without the Mohite-Patils. With Ranjitsinh's entry, an important political family of Maharashtra has joined the BJP. We shall ensure their dignity is not dented in any manner," said Fadnavis.

This has come as a major setback for the NCP which last week tottered on the brink over putting up candidature for the Madha and Maval Lok Sabha seats -- both party strongholds.

For Madha, the choice was NCP President Sharad Pawar and from Maval it was his grand-nephew Parth Ajit Pawar even as the Mohite-Patil family was gripped by anxiety over its political future in the NCP.

Finally, Pawar senior quietly opted out of the race from Madha to make way for the gen-next and Parth was nominated for Maval, before the matter subsided.

But despite Vijaysinh being one of the sitting MPs, the NCP has not yet announced any candidate for Madha in the two lists declared so far.

In fact, Madha was one of the handful of constituencies in the state which remained unaffected by the 'Modi wave' in 2014, but now the 'safe seat' has suddenly become 'insecure'.

An awkward situation could arise if Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil is fielded by NCP from Madha since the BJP plans to nominate his son Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil in the same constituency - virtually pitting son against father.

For the ruling BJP, this was a second major 'catch' in the poll season. Last week Sujay, son of Congress Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, joined the BJP and is likely to be nominated from Ahmednagar.