BJP MP from Maharashtra Nana Patole, a critic of the central and state governments’ handling of farmers’ issues, on Friday resigned from the party and the Lok Sabha, accusing the saffron party of failing to keep the promises it made to the people.
Announcing his decision, he told reporters that he would join Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at a rally in Ahmedabad on December 11.
People, he alleged, are “dying” due to the BJP governments’ policies, a reference to farmers’ suicide, and that his voice was being “stifled”.
Patole, who had quit the Congress to join the BJP before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, also took pot-shots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his response to issues raised by him was not expected in a democracy and they had an “argument”.
He was referring to a meeting Modi had with BJP MPs from some states.
The MP from Bhandara-Gondiya constituency, where he had defeated NCP heavyweight Praful Patel in 2014, also met Congress general secretary in-charge for Maharashtra Mohan Prakash, who said his party was a home for Patole.
“He is an old colleague from the party. He has been raising the issues Rahul ji (Congress vice president) and our party have been raising. He did so by staying within the ruling party,” Prakash said.
Patole, who parried queries on which political party he would join, said he would share dais with Rahul Gandhi at a rally in Ahemdabad on December 11. He was yet to decide on which party he would join, he said.
He had recently met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan.
He said he had long been raising pro-farmers and pro-people issues.
“I have raised these issues in the Lok Sabha and flagged them whenever I met the prime minister and the state’s chief minister. When I highlighted them at a meeting at the prime minister’s residence, his response was not something expected in a democracy,” he said.
Patole claimed that there is a lot of dissent among BJP leaders and there could be more resignations.
In his resignation letter, he cited 14 issues related to agriculture, economy and unemployment as reasons for his resignation.