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Senior BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha, who have been critical of the Narendra Modi government on its handling of the economy, will address a convention of farmers in Akola in east Maharashtra on December 1, party MP Nana Patole said today. Patole, who had reportedly said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn't like taking questions, told reporters that Yashwant Sinha will deliver a lecture on the impact of demonetisation and GST rollout on farmers at the event. Addressing a press conference here, Patole said he has offers from the Congress and the Shiv Sena to join their parties. The BJP leader said he interacts with leaders of various parties on the issues of farmers and will meet Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in upcoming winter session of Parliament. However, Patole denied that he was leaving the BJP. On the upcoming convention of cotton and soybean farmers, he said Yashwant Sinha will speak on the impact of the recently implemented GST and demonetisation on farmers. Patole, who represents Bhandara-Gondia seat, didn't specify who is organising the event. Yashwant Sinha, who had served as Finance Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, had caused a flutter with his article criticising the Centre over handling of the economy, which he said is on the downhill. Shatrughan Sinha had reportedly endorsed the views expressed by the former Finance Minister. Patole also criticised Maharashtra state BJP unit chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari who had taken potshots at him. Bhandari had asked Patole to concentrate on his work in his constituency instead of criticising the Union government. Advising Patole to raise the issues on the party platform and not publicly, Bhandari had said the BJP's Central Parliamentary Board will look into Patole's grievances. Hitting back, Patole today said Bhandari should concentrate on ensuring that the assurances given to people by the government get fulfilled. "Bhandari should stay away from my personal matters. I had raised the issues concerning farmers and the common people on the BJP platform as well as with Prime Minister.
Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) and Bhandari should not spread lies that I have not done so," Patole said. He said the BJP's constitution does not stop him from raising the issues concerning the common people. "... If the BJP feels otherwise, then they should give me a letter mentioning so (not to raise public issues) and I will then decide on my future course of action," he said. In a veiled attack on the BJP-led Maharashtra government, he said the Vidarbha region in the state is witnessing maximum number of suicides by farmers. The prime minister had announced demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes as a measure to fight black money, corruption, fake currency and terror funding on November 8 last year.
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