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Maharashtra: Upset Thorat quits post of legislative party leader

Updated on: 08 February,2023 07:14 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

Cites state Cong chief Patole’s highhandedness as reason; latter denies claim

Maharashtra: Upset Thorat quits post of legislative party leader

Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat. File pic

Senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat on Tuesday quit as the party’s legislative leader, alleging highhandedness of the state unit president Nata Patole. He sent his resignation to party’s national president Mallikarjun Kharge a few days ago, said leaders in the know. The crisis has cropped up at a time when the party is celebrating its good performance in the legislative council elections and is preparing to fight an Assembly by-election in Pune.

Thorat’s resentment stems from the matters related to a controversy over the Nashik graduates’ constituency elections to the state upper house. His nephew Satyajeet Tambe, who was elected with a handsome margin, has alleged that Patole did not give him the party’s AB (authorisation) form in order to create a bad name for him, his father Dr Sudhir Tambe and his maternal uncle Thorat. The uncle also reciprocated Satyajeet’s feeling, saying that he was deeply upset over the internal politics of the state Congress. Patole has denied the allegations and told media personnel that he had no idea about Thorat’s resignation. He also demanded to see the letter Thorat wrote to the party high command against him.

Satyajeet won as an independent, tacitly supported not only by his party workers but also by Bharatiya Janata Party voters. State BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Tuesday said that the party has advised local leaders to support Satyajeet who has filed the candidature in place of his father, who was declared an official nominee. Bawankule said the BJP’s doors were open for Satyajeet, in case he chose to join its fold in future. However, both Satyajeet and Thorat have said that they would continue to follow the Congress’s ideology and work for the party, though the former and his father have been suspended from the party on charges of ‘betrayal’.

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Sources said that Thorat has told the high command that working with Patole was not possible any longer. The senior-most legislator of the Congress, who has won multiple times and remained undefeated in electoral politics so far, was given the party’s state responsibility a couple of years ago. He was also made the legislative party leader after the 2019 polls. He later quit as the state chief and Patole replaced him.

The low-profile leader shot into prominence during the Maharashtra leg of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. The high command chose him over Patole when it came to giving the credit for yatra’s success. Throat, who was the revenue minister in the MVA, was indisposed after breaking shoulder in December. The subsequent turn of events leading to Satyajeet’s election has brought him back into public life and politics.

Thorat’s resignation comes before the Budget session of the Maharashtra legislature, scheduled to be held from February 27. If his resignation is accepted, the Congress will have to appoint a new leader of the legislative party. Other than Thorat, some leaders from Vidarbha have also complained against Patole for trying to wrest credit from them, though he had opposed the candidature of a party worker who eventually won from Nagpur. The Congress also won the Amravati seat despite the last-minute confusion that has also been blamed on Patole.

The Nashik seat, if handled well, could have added one more to the party’s kitty, said a senior Congress leader, adding that the fiasco could only be blamed on Patole. Sources said the party high command has been influencing Thorat to stay in the position on a promise that things and people responsible for the mess, if any, would be corrected, and removed, if required to boost the organisation.

Year when Thorat was made the legislative party leader

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