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Former BJP MP Patole to join Congress, may face NCP hurdle in by-election

In a blow to the BJP, Patole quit the party on Friday and also resigned as representative of Bhandara-Gondia parliamentary constituency.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2017 00:25 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Nana Patole,BJP,Bharatiya Janata Party
BJP MP Nana Patole speaks to the media after submitting his resignation from Lok Sabha seat and party during a press conference in Nagpur, Maharashtra on Saturday.(PTI)

Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of Parliament (MP) Nana Patole’s plan to join the Congress may lead to a spat with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which has insisted that the Parliamentary seat from Bhandara-Gondia — where Patole was an MP — belongs to it, according to the seat-sharing arrangement the parties formulated ahead of the 2014 elections.

State NCP chief Sunil Tatkare said party members will deliberate with the Congress over the issue, should the need arise.

However, sources in the NCP said giving Congress the seat would not be possible as Gondia is the home town of party leader Praful Patel, who also represented the constituency the before 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

In a blow to the BJP, Patole quit the party on Friday and also resigned as representative of Bhandara-Gondia parliamentary constituency.

He is likely to rejoin Congress, for which he has been in talks with party leadership.

The Congress is keen to field Patole in the by-election, which is likely to be held as he submitted his resignation to Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan. It also wants the NCP to support him.

The two parties had formed an alliance to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress had won two seats, with the NCP winning four. The alliance crumbled during the Assembly elections, which both parties lost.

However, they are considering forming an alliance once more for the next elections.

Patole had left the Congress in 2008 to join the BJP. During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP fielded him in the Bhandara-Gondia constituency, where he defeated NCP stalwart Praful Patel.

Patel is a close aide of NCP chief Sharad Pawar and is considered to be one of the party’s most influential leaders.

“Handing Patole the seat is impossible as it belongs to Praful bhai. I don’t think the party leadership would agree to this,” said a senior NCP leader, who did not wish to be identified.

“The Bhandara-Gondia seat belongs to the NCP, according to the seat-sharing arrangement hashed out with the Congress. However, Patole has not joined the Congress yet, so it would be premature to discuss this further,” Tatkare told reporters.

“There are no ongoing discussions. We will examine the matter at the appropriate time. Let Patole join the Congress first,” Ashok Chavan, state Congress chief, told HT.

Patole was unhappy with the BJP for quite some time and had been criticising senior leaders. He recently made headlines for publicly criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi,who he claimed doesn’t like to be questioned.

BJP MLA slams Fadnavis over farmers’ crisis

After Lok Sabha member Nana Patole quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), first-time MLA from Katol in Nagpur, Ashish Deshmukh, wrote to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday, targeting him for growing unemployment, unrest among farmers, the ongoing agrarian crisis and his failure to curb corruption in the state.

Patole resigned in protest against the Fadnavis’ “casual approach” to several issues, particularly farmers of the region. In his six-page letter Deshmukh said there were no effective changes during the BJP-led government’s three-year tenure so far.

First Published: Dec 09, 2017 23:04 IST