Mumbai : Finally, the Congress high command has approved the name of Maharashtra Assembly speaker Nana Patole for the post of state Congress chief in place of Balasaheb Thorat. The announcement in this regard is expected soon.
The Congress high command was looking for a dynamic and energetic state party chief after Thorat was included in the Uddhav Thackeray cabinet. Patole hails from Bhandara district of east Vidarbha and has influence in the peasant Kunbi community. In several parts of the region, the community supported Congress in the 2019 assembly elections. Patole began as a Congress leader but later shifted to the BJP. He was elected as BJP MP in 2014 from the Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha constituency but later quit the party by criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and returned to the Congress. He was elected to the state assembly in 2019 and was made Speaker when the Maha-Vikas- Aghadi formed the government.
It was said that Patole is likely to hand over his resignation to deputy speaker after which the formal announcement will be done party’s central leadership from Delhi. After his meeting with the central leadership on Wednesday, Patole returned to Maharashtra on Thursday morning. His name for the post of the state unit chief has been finalised by Congress and formal discussion with the chiefs of the other two ruling parties has taken place, said people aware of the matter.
Patole was in the news when he asked the state legislature to frame a law to give voters the option of using ballot papers besides EVMs in the local governing bodies’ poll and state Assembly polls. Nagpur-based lawyer and social activist Satish Uke and Pradeep Uke had filed an application before the Speaker last month, following which a meeting was called by the Speaker on Tuesday.
According to reliable sources, the Congress’ organisational leaders in Delhi spoke with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and other senior Maha-Vikas-Aghadi and conveyed the decision to appoint Patole as the new state chief of the party.