Ahead of the upcoming by-election in the Deglur-Biloli assembly in the Nanded district slated for October 30, BJP received a setback as the former MP Bhaskarrao Patil-Khatgaonkar and former MLA Omprakash Pokarna on Sunday left the party to return to the Congress. It will be a ghar wapsi for Khatgaonkar and Pokarna, who had joined BJP citing differences with the local leadership. However, the duo decided to call it a day to come back to the Congress fold as they were totally frustrated due to lack of due respect and position in the BJP.
Khatgaonkar, who is the brother-in-law of Public Work Minister Ashok Chavan, was a three-time legislator and MP and also minister of state in the Congress-NCP government. Khatgaonkar had joined the BJP seven years ago. Chavan in his reaction said, "I welcome senior leader Bhakarrao Patil-Khatgaonkar’s decision to join Congress. I am confident that the entry of such a towering mass leader will definitely strengthen the party in Manded as well as in Marathwada.’’
Khatgaonkar said he decided to rejoin Congress to get justice to his followers and the supporters.
The decision by Khatgaonkar and Pokarna to rejoin the Congress party comes when it faces a challenge from BJP in the upcoming Deglur-Biloli assembly by-poll which is necessitated following the death of Congress party’s sitting legislator Raosaheb Antapurkar.
Chavan, who is the Nanded district guardian minister, has taken up the BJP's challenge and is extensively travelling and addressing poll rallies by taking allies Shiv Sena and NCP together. Congress has fielded Antapurkar’s son Jitesh Antapurkar while BJP has nominated former Shiv Sena legislator Subhash Sabne.
However, BJP is confident about its victory as senior leaders said that the party wants to repeat its performance of Pandharpur by-election in which the party nominee Samadhan Autade won by defeating the NCP candidate Bhagirath Bhalke.