Disgruntled Maharashtra MP Nana Patole quits BJP, Lok Sabha

In August, Mr. Nana Patole criticised the BJP-led Maharashtra government for the way it was implementing the farm loan waiver scheme

December 08, 2017 02:28 pm | Updated 10:42 pm IST - New Delhi

Maharashtra BJP MP Nana Patole addresses the media in New Delhi on December 8, 2017 after resigning from the Lok Sabha. Photo: Special Arrangement

Maharashtra BJP MP Nana Patole addresses the media in New Delhi on December 8, 2017 after resigning from the Lok Sabha. Photo: Special Arrangement

Nana Patole, BJP MP from Bhandara-Gondiya in Maharashtra tendered his resignation from the Lok Sabha on Friday and announced his intention of campaigning for the Congress in Gujarat. Mr Patole will address a rally attended by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi on December 11.

The MP sent a single line resignation to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, but elaborated on his reasons for quitting in a two-page letter appended to the resignation, citing rising agrarian distress as the main reason for quitting.

Mr Patole announced his intention to campaign for the Congress in Gujarat at a meeting with All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary and Maharashra unit in-charge Mohan Prakash.

Mr Prakash said his party was a home for Mr Patole. “He is an old colleague from the party. He has been raising the issues Rahul ji (Congress vice president) and our party have been raising. He did so by staying within the ruling party,” Mr. Prakash said.

Farmers’ suicides

The MP told The Hindu that he was quitting the BJP as he felt that both the Central and State government [in Maharashtra] headed by the BJP were unable to address the issue of agrarian distress.

“Farmers suicides have gone up several levels in the last three years and despite having sought time from both Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, I wasn’t given a hearing,” he said.

Mr Patole moved to the BJP from the Congress before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and defeated former Union minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel from the Bhandara-Gondiya seat.

“All of you are questioning my timing. Let me tell you, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, yesterday reacting to the “ neech ” comment said he is being insulted for belonging to the OBC community. I want to tell everyone how he insults every OBC MP and party functionary,” Mr Patole said.

The MP had earlier spoken out against Mr Modi, who he said, had refused to listen to him at a closed door meeting with BJP MPs from Maharashtra.

‘Not joining any party’

“I am not joining any political party for the moment,” Mr Patole said. “My identity is not limited to being a parliamentarian. I am a known voice in Maharashtra, who speaks for the farmers. So if need be I can float my own party.”

The Congress, he says, is a better party where grievances are heard. In the BJP, he rued that he was treated as an “untouchable”.

“The PM invokes his caste at drop of the moment.[But] His caste certificate needs to be verified. Is he an OBC at all? Whenever I mentioned farmers’ distress or rising suicides, I was shouted down by him,” he said.

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