Vikhe-Patil quits as Maharashtra's Leader of Opposition

Senior Maharashtra Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil's resignation as Leader of Opposition been accepted on Thursday by the Congress high command, a party official said here.

Vikhe-Patil had sent his resignation letter to Congress President Rahul Gandhi a few weeks ago, but a decision on it was pending.

His action was prompted by stringent criticism after his son Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil joined the BJP and is contesting the Ahmednagar seat.

"The resignation has now been accepted," a close aide of Vikhe-Patil said, but the senior leader continues to remain a member of the Congress.

Senior Congress leaders including former Chief Ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan, who is also the state Congress Chief, besides those of ally Nationalist Congress Party were upset after Vikhe-Patil refused to campaign for Congress-NCP candidates.

The Vikhe-Patil family wanted to swap the Congress-held Ahmednagar seat with the NCP, but NCP supremo Sharad Pawar refused to part with the seat.

The political rivalry of Pawar and Vikhe-Patil's father Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil, both vying for supremacy in the prosperous western Maharashtra, is old and well-known in the state.