States

Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Nana Patole resigns

In a major political development, Maharashtra Assembly Speaker and senior Congress leader Nana Patole on Thursday submitted his resignation to the Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal. Mr. Patole is likely to be appointed as the next State Congress president.

“I have submitted my resignation as per the directions from my leaders. I am free now and will be working for the party interests,” Mr. Patole said.

When asked whether he would be the next State Congress chief, Mr. Patole said that he had not received any intimation regarding this, and irrespective of the post, he would start working to expand the party in Maharashtra.

“I do not know whether I will be given the responsibility or not. I am a man of organisation. I have worked as the all-India head of the Congress’ farmers’ cell. At a time when farmers across the country are united against three farm laws, it will be my duty to strengthen the ongoing agitation,” he said.

Mr. Patole had held a meeting with top Congress leaders three days ago, and since then it had been rumoured that he would be the new State Congress president.

Hailing from Vidarbha, Mr. Patole, a farmer leader from OBC community, is known as an aggressive and rebellious leader. He had quit the Congress a decade ago, claiming that the then Congress-NCP government was not functioning in favour of farmers’ interests. In 2014, he had contested the Lok Sabha polls from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and won from the Bhandara-Gondiya constituency. He resigned from the BJP alleging dictatorial behaviour by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He then joined the Congress and fought in the 2019 general polls from Nagpur against Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. After facing the defeat, he contested the Assembly poll against former CM Devendra Fadnavis’s blue-eyed boy Parinay Fukey, emerging victorious.

“Irrespective of my constitutional post, I continued working for people’s interests. Now that I am free, I will get to work more,” Mr. Patole said.

Sources within the Congress said that the announcement of a new State president would be made shortly. “State party in-charge H.K. Patil has submitted his report and the name will be announced shortly,” a senior party leader said.

Disturbance in MVA

Mr. Patole’s resignation, which is seen as part of the Congress’ internal restructuring, has created disturbance within the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar while speaking to reporters in Delhi said that the Assembly Speaker’s post was now open, hinting that the Congress would not get it back easily. “The decision to give the Speaker’s post to the Congress was taken one year ago at a meeting of senior leaders from all three parties. Now that he has resigned, the post is open. We will have to decide on the future course of action,” he said.

Sources said that Mr. Pawar was not happy with the Congress’ decision to ask Mr. Patole to resign. “It was agreed to give the post to the Congress. But it was not decided that he would resign within a year,” a senior NCP leader, who did not wish to be named, said.

The NCP is also wary of the aggressive nature of Mr. Patole, if he is made the State Congress president. “Knowing that this is a three-party alliance government, any decision should be taken by mutual understanding,” the leader said.

Earlier in the day, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, when asked about whether the restructuring of the State Cabinet would involve two deputy CMs and the Shiv Sena would be getting the Speaker’s post, said, “The decision to form this government was taken by leaders of the three parties. As far as the Congress getting a new State president is concerned, it is their internal matter, and we need not interfere in it.”

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 8:45:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/maharashtra-assembly-speaker-nana-patole-resigns/article33754386.ece

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