Former Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Nana Patole on Friday was appointed president of the state Congress unit. The announcement came a day after he resigned from his post as Speaker.
Patole, the MLA from Sakoli in Bhandara district, has replaced revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat as state Congress president. The Congress shares power with the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra.
"The Congress president has appointed Nana Patole as the new president of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee," said a party statement. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also appointed six working presidents -- Shivaji Rao Moge, Basavaraj Patil, Mohamed Arif Naseem Khan, Kunal Rohidas Patil, Chandrakanth Handore and Pranati Shushilkumar Shinde -- to work in coordination with Patole.
Ten vice presidents of the state unit, including former Rajya Sabha member Hussain Dalwai, were also appointed. The party also set up a Parliamentary Board in the state with 37 members, a Strategy, Screening and Coordination Committee for the upcoming local bodies elections.
A delegation of Congress ministers, headed by Thorat, had recently met the party leadership in Delhi. Patole had also met former party chief Rahul Gandhi in Delhi. His name had been doing the rounds for the post of the state Congress president and he had been lobbying for a meaty portfolio as well.
Patole, who was part of the Congress, had later joined the BJP as was elected as an MP in 2014 from Bhandara-Gondia constituency. He later returned to the Congress and was made Speaker when the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition formed the government last year.
NCP leaders congratulated Patole on his appointment.
"Hearty congratulations to former Assembly Speaker Nana Patole ji on being appointed as Maharashtra Pradesh Congress president! Best wishes for his future endeavours," state home minister Anil Deshmukh tweeted. Baramati MP Supriya Sule and Raigad MP Sunil Tatkare also wished Patole the best for his new assignment.
The budget session of the state legislature is to begin from March 1.