MUMBAI: The Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena alliance has declared its former Kisan wing leader Nana Patole as its candidate for the post of Assembly speaker in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, in an attempt that is seen as a way to woo the agrarian communities in Western Maharashtra.
Patole, who is now a Congress MLA from Amravati district's Sukali in Maharashtra, was a former BJP MLA who was the first one to rebel against the party during Prime Minister Modi's first term between 2014 to 2019.
Patole had joined the BJP after quitting the NCP just ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and contested successfully against NCP leader Praful Patel from Bhandar-Gondia constituency in Maharashtra.
The leader was an open critic of the Modi government and later rebelled against the saffron party to join Congress, and contested against Union minister Nitin Gadkari from the Nagpur seat. However, this time he lost to the BJP stalwart.
The four-times MLA has been pitted against BJP leader Kisan Kathore, who is an MLA from Murbad constituency.
Congress's decision to nominate Patole could be an attempt to maintain a balance of power between various regions as most of the top NCP and Congress leaders hail from western Maharashtra.