Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar was on Monday nominated the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly by Speaker Haribhauu Bagde. A four-term legislator and former Shiv Sainik, Wadettiwar was recently appointed Congress party’s leader in the Assembly.
With just six working days remaining in the ongoing monsoon session of the legislature — this is the final session before the state polls to be held in October — Wadettiwar will have a short tenure. Nationalist Congress Party’s group leader Ajit Pawar, whose party backed Wadettiwar’s nomination, said: “You (Wadettiwar) have to bat in a 20-20 match.”
Wadettiwar, who was elected twice from the Chimur Assembly constituency and once from Brahmapuri in Vidarbha’s Chandrapur district, Wadettiwar had begun his political career as a Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) activist and later he went on to join the Shiv Sena. He was a Sena nominated member in the Legislative Council for six years till 2004.
Wadettiwar had quit the Sena and returned to the Congress folds in 2004 when former Chief Minister Narayan Rane had switched sides.
He played a key role in winning the Chandrapur Lok Sabha seat for the Congress in the recently concluded 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which is the only seat that the grand old party won in the state.
On Monday, Wadettiwar attributed his “aggressive demeanour” to former Shiv Sena supremo (late) Bal Thackeray. “I must admit that I get my aggression from Balasaheb. It is also true that I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t been with the Shiv Sena… But ever since I rejoined the Congress, I’ve been committed to the party’s ideology,” he said.
The nomination of the LoP was necessitated after senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil stepped down from the post and resigned from his membership. Earlier this month, Vikhe-Patil quit the Congress to join the BJP. He is currently a housing minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government.