Mumbai: Amid severe differences with Maharashtra Congress’ state leadership, Balasaheb Thorat, the Congress’ legislative party leader in Maharashtra, resigned from his position Tuesday.
Thorat’s resignation comes about four days after he wrote a letter to the Congress’ high command in Delhi. In the letter, he expressed his displeasure over the state leadership’s handling of his nephew Satyajeet Tambe’s nomination as an independent candidate for the Nashik graduates constituency MLC poll that he won last week and the political controversy created around the Tambe-Thorat family in Maharashtra.
Sources close to Thorat told ThePrint that, “It is difficult for Thorat to work with Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole.”
The source added that in the Satyajeet Tambe episode, Thorat’s family was targeted, and hence he felt it was difficult to work with him.
Thorat’s resignation has put Congress in a spot as the state’s budget session of the legislature is scheduled to begin on 27 February.
Confirming his resignation, Thorat refused to comment on this further.
Also read: Maha: Satyajit Tambe alleges conspiracy to deny him ticket, oust family from Congress
Upset over handling of Satyajeet Tambe rebellion
Thorat was quiet for nearly a month after Satyajeet rebelled against the Congress’ decision to nominate his father, Sudhir Tambe, as the party’s official candidate raising questions of whether the Tambe and Thorat families were also warring, or if Balasaheb Thorat was furtively supportive of the rebellion.
The Congress suspended both Tambe father and son after the former did not file his nomination to pave the way for his son’s election.
Thorat cleared his stand on Sunday, when he released a video message to his constituents in Sangamner on the occasion of his birthday, saying that the controversy over Satyajeet’s election was a part of Congress’ internal politics. However, he has so far steered clear of blaming Patole directly.
“The internal politics within the party was distressing for me,” Thorat said. “Some people spread misinformation about us and even said we were joining the BJP even though the distribution of the latter’s seats was over. We have been following Congress ideology all our life and will continue to do so. I have informed the party leadership in Delhi about the entire episode and appropriate action will be taken.”
Thorat, who is recuperating from an accident that he met during winter session in Nagpur in December, said in the letter that since Sudhir Tambe, the Congress’ official candidate, did not file his nomination and his son Satyajeet, who did not have the party’s A & B forms, had to file as an independent, he should have been given immediate support by the Congress so that the seat could have been with the party itself, the source mentioned above told ThePrint.
“Thorat has not asked for Nana Patole’s removal from the state party president’s post. Thorat has just conveyed his feelings to Delhi and now it is up to them to decide what to do,” the source added.
ThePrint tried to reach out to Nana Patole but his phone calls were unanswered. However, speaking to the media on Monday, Patole said, “I am not aware of any letter written by Thorat. I have not yet spoken to him. And I don’t think any such letter would be written.”
After winning the seat and becoming MLC from Nashik, Satyajeet Tambe on Saturday, without taking name, lashed out at Nana Patole and said that the party leadership had hatched a conspiracy against the Tambes and Thorat.
Nana Patole was appointed as Congress state chief in February 2021, replacing Balasaheb Thorat.
Patole is said to be close to Rahul Gandhi, and state leaders were not consulted before appointing Patole, according to the leader quoted above.
On Tuesday, Nana Patole speaking to the media said, “After this graduate constituency elections, I have learned a lot about politics. I am a simple worker and never did any dirty politics. We have a working committee’s meeting in upcoming days and will speak to Thorat since he is our senior leader.”
Also read: Why Maharashtra Congress is unravelling — family feuds, too many power centres, BJP factor