A month after resigning from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Lok Sabha citing 14 reasons on which he believed the government had failed to live up to expectations, the rebel BJP MP from Maharashtra’s Bhandara-Gondiya constituency, Nana Patole, joined the Congress party and was welcomed by party president Rahul Gandhi.
Patole, who had sent his resignation to the Lok Sabha Speaker on December 8, had cited the government’s inaction on issues like the increasing number of farmer suicides, demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax as among the many reasons behind his decision to step down.
“The incidents of farmer suicide have increased by 435 as compared to the previous year. Farmers have been incurring heavy loss. The state had promised to pay them one and a half times more than the actual price to the farmer. But that never happened,” Patole wrote as one of the reasons for his resignation.
“I have tried to raise this issue with the senior leadership on several occasions. I did not receive any acknowledgement, leave alone a response from them,” he wrote in his letter submitted to the Speaker.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi warmly welcomes Mr Nana Patole, Ex-MP from BJP, to the Congress family. pic.twitter.com/LZpHtlBS6Q
— Congress (@INCIndia) January 11, 2018
Patel had joined the BJP in 2014 and made his entry felt after beating NCP heavyweight and former Union minister Praful Patel by a margin of around 1,50,000 votes. His departure from the BJP though was not as surprising. Patel was one of the most vocal critics of the party and had even taken shots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he did not like to be questioned.
In an interview to The Indian Express earlier, Patole had said that he had been approached by former CM and Congress leader Ashok Chavan to join the party. “As of now, I am not joining any party, although Ashok Chavan has given me an offer to join the Congress. And it is not necessary that I rejoin any other party. I may even float my own,” he had then said.
A 30-year veteran in politics, Patel has associated himself closely with issues related to farmers and OBCs. These issues resonate with his voter base in Vidarbha and could have been one of the reasons behind his departure.