New Delhi: In an attempt to reach out to the agrarian communities in a government that is 'top-heavy' with western Maharashtra and Maratha leaders, Congress on Saturday nominated its former Kisan Wing leader Nana Patole for the Speaker's post.
Patole, who comes from the OBC Kunabi community in Vidarbha region, was the first BJP MP to rebel against his party during Prime Minister Modi's first term between 2014 to 2019.
He joined the Bharatiya Janata Party just ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls to defeat NCP strongman Praful Patel from Bhandara–Gondiya seat. The leader later rebelled against the saffron party to join Congress, and contested against Union minister Nitin Gadkari from Nagpur. However, this time he lost to the BJP stalwart.
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.
Outgoing CM Devendra Fadnavis and Patole both hail from Vidarbha region, which in the past has seen many agitations for creation of a separate state comprising of districts in eastern Maharashtra. Hence, the Maha Vikas Aghadi's decision can be seen as a move to maintain both caste and regional balance.