In a homecoming of sorts, former Maharashtra BJP MP Nana F. Patole has rejoined the Congress, a month after quitting his Lok Sabha membership from Bhandara-Gondiya, it was announced on Thursday.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi formally welcomed Patole into the party in the presence of stare Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan and Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil among others.
A party leader here said he is likely to contest the next Lok Sabha elections from the same constituency in Vidarbha region of eastern Maharashtra as a Congress candidate.
Elected on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket in the 2014 parliament elections, Patole had given a shock defeat to Nationalist Congress Party strongman and former union minister Praful Patel.
While Patole rode on the wave of farmers’ angst against the erstwhile UPA government to win the Lok Sabha elections, he later rebelled and became a bitter critic of the ruling BJP-led NDA, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for ignoring the cause of the farmers and going back on their pre-poll promises.
Finally, on the eve of the recent Gujarat assembly elections, he quit the BJP and his Lok Sabha membership on December 8, and bided his time amidst speculation he would return to the Congress.
Since the past one month he spent his time touring his parliamentary constituency, meeting his activists and supporters before joining the Congress, the formal announcement of which was made on Thursday.
Born in a farmer’s family, the 54-year old Patole was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative assembly for three consecutive terms since 1999 and was elevated as a deputy party leader in the legislature before he suddenly defected to the BJP before the 2014 elections.