Nagpur: The influential Shiv Sena leader and chief of Bhandara unit of the party, Rajendra Patle, joined the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha by-election for Bhandara-Gondia seat. He joined the BJP in Nagpur, in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. A former BJP leader, Patle had quit the saffron party when he was denied an Assembly ticket in 2014. He contested Tumsar Assembly seat on the Sena ticket but lost.
Patle said, “In the last three years I worked very hard for the Shiv Sena and formed a base for the party in Bhandara. But despite an assurance, the Sena did not give me the ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha by-election.”
According to him, the Sena is neglecting the Vidarbha region and Bhandara district. “I will support the BJP’s Hemant Patle in the Bhandara-Gondia by-election,” he said. Patle’s induction into the BJP comes days after the Sena inducted Shrinivas Wanga, son of late BJP MP Chintaman Wanga, into the party and fielded him for the Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll.
Bypolls to Palghar and Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra will be held on May 28. The by-elections were necessitated because of the resignation of Nana Patole, BJP MP from Bhandara-Gondia, and the death of Chintaman Wanga, BJP MP from Palghar.
Meanwhile, the election campaign of the Bhandara-Gondia constituency got momentum and the BJP nominee, Patle emerged as a major force in the elections. The RPI (Athawale) faction has extended its support to the BJP candidate, Patle.