Sangli (Maharashtra): The political fire was finally doused in Sangli Lok Sabha constituency with the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) announcing the candidature of Congress leader Vishal P. Patil, here on Saturday.
“We have nominated Vishal P. Patil who will contest the elections under our banner and symbol,” SSS President Raju Shetti told mediapersons, ending the suspense over this crucial seat in western Maharashtra.
Representing a famed dynasty of Sangli, Vishal Patil is the younger brother of ex-Union Minister of State Pratik P. Patil and grandson of the legendary Maratha leader and former Congress Chief Minister Vasantrao “Dada” B. Patil.
Regarded as the “political guru” of Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, the late Vasantrao Patil served twice as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra before becoming the Governor of Rajasthan.
His widow, Shalinitai Patil (88), was an influential political personality in her own right, both in the state and the Centre.
The Sangli parliamentary seat, a traditional bastion of the Congress which held it from 1962 till 2014, was snatched away by Sanjay Kaka Patil of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the last general elections.
This time, Sanjay Patil will again contest against Vishal Patil, who would leave no stone unturned to wrest back the family stronghold.
The seat suddenly became controversial earlier this month when the Congress allocated it to the SSS as part of the seat-sharing arrangement in the 56-party Grand Alliance.
Miffed by the constituency changing hands, Pratik Patil quit the Congress in a huff, while his brother Vishal Patil threatened to contest as an Independent candidate if the Congress did not support his candidature.
Following hectic talks and burning the midnight oil with former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and others engaging in the fire-fight, a compromise formula was worked out, paving the way for the SSS to nominate Congressman Vishal Patil as its candidate.
Son of four-time former MP, the late Prakashbapu V. Patil, Vishal Patil is a respected political figure in western Maharashtra, who’s involved with sugar mills and is the director of the local district cooperative bank. He is also a prominent name in the milk cooperatives in the region.