Mumbai: In another blow to the Indian National Congress in Maharashtra, senior party leader Harshvardhan Patil joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday.
This comes a day after former Maharashtra minister Kripashankar Singh and actor-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar quit the Congress on Tuesday.
After Balasaheb Vikhe Patil and Abdul Sattar, Harshvardhan Patil is the third veteran leader to quit Congress following its dismal performance at the Lok Sabha elections, where party managed to win only one seat from the Chandrapur constituency in Maharashtra.
Patil, a four-time MLA from Indapur constituency of Pune district, lost the 2014 elections by a slim margin to Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Dattarao Bharme.
At a grand event on Wednesday at the Garware club of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), Patil formally joined the saffron brigade in presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, BJP state president Chandrakant Patil and the party’s city chief Mangal Prabhat Lodha.
Addressing the event, CM Fadnavis informed, he has been trying to rope in the veteran Congress leader into the saffron party for more than five years.
“Patil with his sheer tact has acted as bullet-proof jacket to many former ministers, his entry to BJP has made us stronger and his knowledge will make us wiser,” said Fadnavis, highlighting Patil’s vast political knowledge and expertise on his constituency.
Supporters of Patil thronged the venue to witness the new beginning of their leader’s new journey. A close aide of the senior politician informed, before taking the final call to join BJP, Patil held a meeting with his supporters at Indapur, where the supporters enthusiastically backed his decision and Patil went ahead.
He further informed, the former Congress leader was directly in touch with the CM following his book launch in July, where Fadnavis joined Sharad Pawar to unveil Patil’s book.
Patil informed, the jobs done by the BJP in the last 100 days have influenced him to join the saffron party, “The decision of revoking Article 370 and the implementation of the Motor Vehicles Act have deeply influenced me to join BJP,” said Patil. He said his constituency is fatigued by water problem, which he aspire to counter once elected to power.
“The BJP have instilled a sense of nationalism and oneness among people, in the party I feel together we can work for the betterment of the nation,” he added.
While on his way to the event, Patil also visited the Lalbaughcha Raja, Ganapati Mandal to seek blessings.