Nagpur: Former BJP MP Nana Patole on Thursday said he would formally join the Congress soon.
Addressing reporters, Patole, who quit as Bhandara-Gondia MP in December, 2017, also said he would contest the bypoll only in case of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis or NCP stalwart Praful Patel deciding to contest from the now vacant constituency.
In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Patole had defeated Patel from the Bhandara-Gondia seat.
When asked why he felt that Fadnavis, an MLA, would contest the bypoll, Patole said "I have heard rumours that Fadnavis may be called to Delhi".
"There are rumours that Fadnavis may be asked to join the Central government and if that happens he will have to get elected as an MP, either through Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha," he said.
Since Bhandara-Gondia seat is currently vacant, Fadnavis may contest from here and the bypoll is likely to be held in April or May, he said.
Patole said there was also a possibility that Praful Patel may join the BJP and contest from Bhandara Gondia as a party candidate.
"However, these are mere conjectures. I will contest only in case the names of Fadnavis or Patel come up for the bypoll," he said.
Patole said he delayed joining the Congress due to the current Dalit strife and would formally join that party soon.
"I, along with Congress leaders Ashok Chavan, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Mohan Prakash and Sanjay Nirupam, held a meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday," he said.
Patole said they discussed the present turmoil in Maharashtra and talked about the Congress' role to resolve various issues.
The former MP said he had cancelled his "Paschatap Padyatra" (repentance march), scheduled to begin from 12 January, due to the Bhima-Koregaon incident.
Patole had on 8 December, 2017 announced that he was quitting as the BJP MP as well as a party member.
He had been critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the past.
Updated Date: Jan 04, 2018 22:44 PM