Nana Patole’s return may spark war of words between Congress and NCP
The confrontation is likely to be over choosing a candidate for Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha by-pollmumbai Updated: Jan 12, 2018 09:33 IST
Nana Patole, former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Bhandara-Gondia, is formally back in the Congress.
After he met party chief Rahul Gandhi in Delhi last week, the Congress on Thursday formally announced Patole’s return by posting a photo of a meeting on Twitter.
The development may lead to a confrontation between the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) over choosing a candidate for Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha by-poll.
The by-election was necessitated after Patole resigned as a BJP MP over ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the Central and state governments. He joined the BJP during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and defeated NCP heavyweight Praful Patel, now a Rajya Sabha member.
After quitting the BJP just before the first phase of the Gujarat assembly polls on December 9, Patole criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party leadership over agrarian crisis in Maharashtra. He had shared stage with Rahul Gandhi during the Gujarat polls.
As a Congress leader, he had been elected from Sakoli assembly constituency since 1999.
Patole said he was interested in contesting the by-poll, but clarified that the final decision would be taken by the Congress leadership. He also said the NCP was unlikely to oppose his candidature.
But the NCP wants Parful Patel to contest the seat. State NCP president Sunil Tatkare said, “Our senior leader Praful Patel has been contesting from the seat for years. The Congress cannot take the decision without consulting us.”
According to a senior Congress leader, even if the two parties decide to join hands in by-poll, the sitting MP gets the preference. “There are many instances in which both parties have given up the claim, if a sitting MP represents either of the election symbols,” he said.
Mohan Prakash, All India Congress Committee general secretary and in-charge of Maharashtra, said, “The decision about the candidate and the alliance with the NCP will be taken at the appropriate time. At this point, we are happy that Patole has re-joined the fold.”