Former BJP MP Nana Patole has formally joined the Congress, Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan announced here today. Patole met Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on January 4, Chavan told PTI. However, when asked if Patole will be the party's candidate for Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha by-election, Chavan said, "We have not yet taken a call on this.
It's too early to comment." The decision on candidate will be taken after the by-election's schedule is announced, the Congress leader said. The by-election became necessary after Patole, who represented the seat, resigned. When contacted, Patole told PTI that he joined the Congress on January 4. "I will abide by the party's directives," he said when asked if he was going to contest the by-election. Patole, a former Congressman, had joined the BJP on the eve of the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 and contested from Bhandara-Gondia, defeating NCP heavyweight Praful Patel. Patole quit the BJP and the Lok Sabha membership last month citing the state and Central government's "anti-farmer policies".
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