The Congress party on Friday appointed former revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat as the leader of Congress Legislature Party in Maharashtra. He will be the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Maharashtra Assembly. Balasaheb Thorat is supposed to be very close to the Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Congress MLA from Vidarbha Vijay Wadettiwar has been appointed Leader of Lower House.
It is worth mentioning that the monsoon session of the Maharashtra legislature is going to begin from June 17. The Congress party fought the Lok Sabha election without Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the state. The party was in immense pressure to appoint the Leader of Opposition before the monsoon session begins.
In a letter addressed to Congress General Secretary (Maharashtra) Mallikarjuna Kharge, the All India Congress Committee General Secretary K.C. Venugopal has approved the list of members appointed to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and Council, after mega-exodus of Maharashtra Congress MLAs due to the Lok Sabha defeat in the state.
Senior Congress’s Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil has quit as Maharashtra Leader of Opposition days after his son joined BJP in March this year. Later on, he quit the Congress party and joined BJP. The expansion of Fadnavis cabinet is due in near future and Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil is likely to be included in the cabinet.
The senior Congress MLA and former revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat who is also arch-rival of former LoP Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil in Ahmednagar district was being referred to as ‘the dark horse’ for this post. Balasaheb Thorat proved media speculations true. His close proximity with Congress president Rahul Gandhi made his claim to the post strong. A day after Sujay Vikhe Patil joined the BJP, Balasaheb Thorat asked Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil to make his stand clear on his son joining the BJP. Sujay Vikhe Patil joined the BJP on March 12.
On June 4, Patil had officially resigned as Congress MLA from Maharashtra’s Shirdi constituency. He had submitted his resignation to Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha. Along with him, other Congress leaders namely Abdul Sattar, Kalidas Kolambkar and Jaykumar Gore also resigned from their posts as MLA.
Congress MLA from Vidarbha Vijay Wadettiwar was also tipped off as the front runner the Leader of Opposition. Sources in the Congress had said that the party is expected to fare well in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls, particularly Vidarbha region. “In Vidarbha, the Dalit, Muslim and Kumbi (DMK) consolidation are likely to spell good poll prospects for the crumbling Congress party in the region. Apart from that, Wadettiwar’s contribution and dedication to the party made him a front runner for the post. Wadettiwar played a vital role in bringing Kunbi leader and Shiv Sena MLA Suresh Dhanorkar into the Congress. He also ensured that the ticket for Chandrapur Lok Sabha constituency goes to Dhanorkar who fight an election against former Union Minister of State, Home Affairs, Hansraj Ahir. Dhanorkar won the election and he is lone MP of the Congress in Maharashtra.
But 57-years-old Wadettiwar could not succeed in his endeavour. He is a firebrand leader of Congress and has been a vocal critic of the BJP government’s performance in the state. His proximity with state Congress president Ashok Chavan and NCP chief Sharad Pawar proved in vain.