Sujay Vikhe Patil, the son of senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who is contesting the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat as a BJP candidate, says although Congress did not stand by him, his family was supporting him in his first electoral battle.
In an interview to news agency PTI, Sujay Patil slammed the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for making the election a personal issue, which prompted him to join the BJP.
He said he had worked hard in the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha constituency for three years and deserved to "become an MP".
Sujay Patil joined the BJP last month. His decision came after the Sharad Pawar-led NCP's refusal to leave aside the Ahmedanagar Lok Sabha seat.
A neurosurgeon by profession, Sujay Patil said his decision to join the BJP was not an easy one.
"I have been speaking against the BJP-led government during my public engagements in three years. But the transition was smooth thanks to the NCP, whose leadership indulged in politics of revenge and gave a personal angle to its denial of ticket to me," he said.
"My decision to quit the Congress was because I felt from within that I had the support of the people given my work. For what reason should I stop?" he said.
"There was no looking back for me. There was no going back. It was the Congress's responsibility to get the seat. But the NCP indulged in politics of revenge. There was a personal angle against the family and I had no other option," he said.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar had last month alluded to how he ensured the defeat of Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, father of Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, (in an election in early 1990s) and that he also remembered the lawsuit the late Congress leader filed against him. Balasaheb Vikhe Patil had rebelled against the Congress and fought as an independent candidate in the 1991 Lok Sabha polls.
Sujay Patil also said an offer was made to him to contest as an NCP candidate.
"But why should I join a sinking ship? If I have to leave the Congress it is better I join a national party, which has a PM face with a huge following," he said.
To a question about Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' comment that he was given a ticket as a surgical strike on Congress, Sujay Patil said, "I wasn't important for the Congress. I wasn't considered for the candidature...My transition was smooth because the reason for not giving me the seat was revealed by the NCP leadership."
"I couldn't turn back from where I had reached. I deserved to become an MP. I am not an ambitious person. If I feel that I am not getting good response, I will quit politics," he said.
According to him, apart from the party's PM face, the credentials of the candidate were also important.
"Politics has transformed now. Apart from the face of the PM candidate, the face of the candidate is also important," he said.
He felt there was no clean swing for anyone this time. "I hope I get a good lead and will be in the first three leads in the country," he added.
Sujay Patil said the most important issue in his constituency was water management and distribution.
Water from Kukdi dam project in Pune district was not reaching Ahmednagar, he said, adding that the rivalry between the two districts was affecting the water distribution.
Sujay Patil said he had no fixed political ideology.
"I am a doctor. I came into politics to help my father. Earlier, while criticising the BJP, I used to say that the glass was half empty and now I am speaking about the glass being half full.
"I am telling voters to trust me as a person. My father is helping me as we are standing together as a family. My father is not leaving the Congress. I am not a politician by heart. I am a doctor first," he said.
"People trust me as a person. I worked hard, but the party didn't stand by me. In Ahmednagar, the Congress was the single largest party in Zilla Parishad. I worked for it," he said.
He said his father did not agree with him earlier, but the family now stood together. "My father's stand is against the NCP and not the Congress," he said.
Sujay Patil admitted that his joining the BJP has put his father in an awkward position.
"He can't come out openly. Either me or my father had to be satisfied. But father said you are free to take your decision and I have tried my best for you," he said.
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