Frustrated by the lack of a decision from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leadership on the Indapur Assembly seat, senior Congress leader Harshavardhan Patil has called for a meeting of his followers on Wednesday, lending credence to long-standing speculation that he may join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) soon.Mr. Patil, a four-time MLA from his stronghold Indapur and a former State minister, is one of the few big leaders left in the Congress, which has seen defections to the saffron coalition of late. According to sources, he is expected to announce his decision post-noon at a ‘Jansankalp’ (public resolution) meeting of his followers in Indapur. It remains to be seen whether Mr. Patil announces his decision to contest as an Independent or ally himself with the BJP.After being elected MLA for four consecutive terms beginning in 1995, Mr. Patil had suffered a humiliating defeat at hands of the NCP’s Dattatrey Bharne in the 2014 Assembly elections when the Congress and the NCP had contested separately. Mr. Patil is seeking to reassert himself and contest from Indapur in the Assembly election with the NCP’s help as a ‘return favour’ to the help he had given NCP MP Supriya Sule to ensure her victory from the Baramati Lok Sabha seat.The Indapur Assembly segment forms part of the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency, the stronghold of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Mr. Patil wields considerable influence over the Indapur and Bhor Assembly segments.The rivalry between the Pawar clan and Mr. Patil’s family was aggravated when Mr. Patil lost the 2014 Assembly elections. However, with the BJP ascendant in Maharashtra and the Congress and Mr. Pawar’s political fortunes on the wane, Mr. Pawar had sought to pacify Mr. Patil in a bid to ensure that he campaigned for the re-election of Ms. Sule, his daughter and cousin of senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar.Just before the Lok Sabha elections, Ajit Pawar had conferred with Mr. Patil at his residence in Pune to ensure that he campaigned for Ms. Sule. According to Mr. Patil’s supporters, the Congressman’s campaign for Ms. Sule helped her secure critical votes that ultimately ensured the NCP MP’s re-election for the third time.However, the NCP leadership including Mr. Pawar, has not shown any inclination to let go of the Indapur Assembly seat for Mr. Patil. Observers say, given the rapid rate of defections in the NCP, the party is unwilling to ‘unseat’ Mr. Bharne and give preference to Mr. Patil. As a result, a visibly disappointed Mr. Patil has been holding meetings of his followers in the past few weeks. “You must decide whether or not I ought to contest the polls. If yes, you must be ready for the electoral fight,” said Mr. Patil, at a meeting, while hitting out at the NCP’s ‘lack of gratitude’.In response, NCP State president Jayant Patil, during the party’s ‘Shiv Swarajya Yatra’ in Indapur has said that decisions on whether to leave a particular seat or not could not be made through the media. “If Mr. Pawar does not take a call on the Indapur Assembly seat soon and if Mr. Patil exits, it will be a situation similar to one that forced the Vikhe-Patils to leave the Congress,” said a city-based analyst.The BJP, on its part, has been trying hard to woo Mr. Patil, with State unit president Chandrakant Patil making overtures to the Congressman before the Lok Sabha elections.