Congress to stake claims to contest from his seat for by-polls.
Mumbai: While Nana Patole has resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is set to join the Congress, he is unlikely to contest Lok Sabha election in 2019. Sources said that Mr Patole is interested in contesting the 2019 Assembly elections on a Congress ticket. However, the Congress will stake claims to fight from his constituency for the by-polls. Mr Patole’s constituency Bhandara-Gondia falls under the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) quota according to the agreement between Congress and the NCP. Mr Patole had defeated NCP leader Praful Patel in 2014.
According to sources, Mr Patole wants to return to state politics either as a minister or prominent leader in the party’s state unit. The Congress has assured him that he will be treated with ‘respect’ if it comes to power in the state in 2019. Mr Patole has also assured the Congress leadership that he will campaign in every district in Vidarbha over the issue of OBC ministry and farmers. Hence, it is possible that he would be one of the prominent faces of the Congrees from Vidarbha in the 2019 elections.
The NCP has been contesting the seat since 2004 in an alliance with Congress. “The winning candidate is with us now. So, we have right to claim the seat. Mr Patel is in the Rajya Sabha. It could happen that we will give another seat from the state in return for this,” said a senior leader of Maharashtra Congress.
Meanwhile, there are reports of tension between Mr Patel and Ahmed Patel, political adviser of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
There is buzz that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to field Parinay Fuke, a first term MLC and his close confidant from Bhandara-Gondia for the by-elections.
The BJP’s sulking alliance partner Shiv Sena has supported the rebel Mr Patole. “Mr Patole’s decision is a reflection of farmers, workers and Dalits’ reactions. This has started from Vidarbha now,” said a Sena leader.