Maharashtra Congress Under Nana Patole

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Next election in Maharashtra, Congress will contest independently! Is Sharad Pawar the remote control of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government? These are some of the few statements which were trending in media and Maharashtra politics made by a personality none other than Nana Patole.

If he or some other person would have made these statements normally then probably they would not have created a buzz in the political circles. But Nana Patole’s designation makes them trending and grave as adding to that opposition BJP is constantly trying to imbibe that the MVA government is unstable and may collapse anytime. 

Nana Patole is currently the state president of Congress. If we take a look at the history of Maharashtra politics in the era of the 70s immense importance was given to the post and personality of state president. But that era was way different than the current scenario. Back then, there was Congress’ government in the center and in many states, Congress had managed to win elections single-handedly.

Therefore, the party organization was dominant over the government. After Indira Gandhi, the post of state president was used to ensure that Delhi should have control over the party organization of each state and that no person or leader should be formed to challenge the central leadership. By appointing the Chief Leader of the opponent of the chief minister as the State President, the central leadership kept its grip on the party organization and the state government, constantly destabilizing the Chief Minister’s post.

Even in 2004, despite Vilasrao Deshmukh’s coalition government with the NCP, woman leader Prabharao was appointed as state president. The only reason for this was that she belonged to Vilasrao’s opposition group. The series of defeats of the Congress party which started in the next period still persists.

Seven years have passed since Congress lost power in the center, but the Congress leadership is still struggling. The party organization has completely disintegrated. In such a situation, in a big state like Maharashtra, due to strong leadership like Sharad Pawar, a three-party alliance government was formed in the state.

Even while joining the MVA government, the Congress leadership wasted time in taking many steps. However, while getting the share of this power in the state, Congress got the presidency of the Legislative Assembly. In 2019, Nana Patole was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the Assembly. Though Nana is a studious personality who knows the norms of running the state assembly with discipline, his nature is aggressive too thus it seemed like he didn’t enjoy the presidency.

Also, as there was a three-party government, there were a lot of restrictions on them. Nana had to struggle a lot. Since he is representing the Bhandara-Gondia district, it was difficult for him and his party to survive by fighting with all-powerful people like Sena-BJP and NCP’s Praful Patel. As a result, he resigned from the Congress party in 2014 and joined the BJP. In the Modi wave, Nana was elected as BJP MP from Gondia. But he did not like Modi’s monopolistic BJP and resigned as an MP and became a Congressman again.

He became known as the first MP and leader to speak out against Modi. After deciding to stay in the state, he became an MLA in 2019 and became the Speaker of the Assembly. But in February 2021, he resigned as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. The party leadership decided to take advantage of his aggression as well as the experience of his tenure as president, and he was designated as Congress’ state president.

While working as the state president, a lot of discipline and norms are to be followed one has to act responsibly and be careful with words but that is not the nature of Nana. He speaks boldly later others have to give justifications for him.

Nana is responsible for building the party as the Congress is the third-largest party in the alliance government, the number of MLAs is limited, the party organization is in a state of disarray due to continuous defeats, the party is almost extinct in urban areas, and there is lack of central leadership, The time to come will determine how they deal with all of this. But in the current situation, it is important to see how the party can be strengthened by controlling his aggressive nature. 

Recognizing the strength of his party would be more beneficial for the party and his leadership as well. Nana should take slow steps with caution and restraint discussing his strategies openly.